Two bills regarding the taxation of University property in the city of Cambridge were introduced by former Representative Julius Meyers, of Cambridge, at the State House, yesterday morning. One provided that any land in Cambridge acquired by Harvard University in the future should be taxed; and the other provided for the taxation of all colleges in the state whose property holdings amounted to more than one-fiftieth of the valuation of the town or city in which they were located. The provisions of this latter bill were that one-fifth of all taxes of such colleges should be exempted, one-fifth paid by the college and the other three-fifths of the tax by the state.
Mr. Meyers devoted most of his attention to the first bill. He declared such an institution as Harvard too great a burden for one community and that the valuations in Cambridge are one-third higher than they ought to be. Harvard is gradually acquiring land along the river, and now the Institute of Technology may establish itself here. He concluded by stating that he could not see whereby values were in any way benefited by the presence of the University.
President Lowell in reply said that he did not think the first bill would be countenanced, since it would discriminate between Harvard and other educational institutions in the same city. As to the second bill he agreed that if the University were a burden the Commonwealth should share it with the city, but this was disproved by the fact that President Maclaurin of Technology had received petitions from Cambridge citizens asking that the Institute settle here. They ask this in order to increase property values in the city.
He went on to say that in order to found a dormitory system the University was buying land south of Mt. Auburn street. This would improve surrounding property and increase values. On this land the University expected to pay taxes according to its present valuation. If taxed Harvard would be obliged either to curtail education or increase the tuition fee.
After a number of Cambridge citizens had spoken against the proposed taxation the hearing was closed.