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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott invites Yale to move south; No thanks, school says



When you think of the historic, leafy New England campus of Yale University, surely it calls to mind … uh, Brooksville? How about Lake City? Yeehaw Junction, maybe?

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday suggested that Yale, one of the nation's most prestigious Ivy League schools, leave Connecticut and relocate to Florida to avoid a possible tax on the profits from its endowment. The unorthodox Envy League pitch follows news that the Legislature in Connecticut may impose a 7 percent tax on the net investment profits of the school's $26.5 billion endowment.

Without mentioning any of Florida's existing state universities by name, Scott said in a statement: "We would welcome a world-renowned university like Yale to our state. … This would add yet another great university to our state."

Scott floated the proposal a day after his chief jobs recruiter, Enterprise Florida CEO Bill Johnson, abruptly resigned his $265,000-a-year position. The governor called for a review of Enterprise Florida's spending and said the public-private partnership, which has a payroll of about $9 million, must consider shedding $6 million in expenses in light of the Florida Legislature's rejection of a new $250 million incentive fund.

In response to Scott's invite, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said: "It's wonderful to be recognized as an outstanding asset, but Yale, New Haven and Connecticut have been on common ground to great mutual benefit for 300 years. We're looking forward to reaching even greater heights in education, research and civic engagement over the next three centuries and more."

-- With reporting by Kristen M. Clark, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 1:41pm]


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