Providence, Rhode Island is the home of four private schools — Brown, Providence College, Johnson & Wales University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
In 2003 each school agreed to pay the city nearly $50 million over 20 years.
Apparently that’s no longer enough.
Facing a budget crisis the mayor of Providence wants to slap tens of thousands of students who attend the four schools with a $150-per-semester tax.
The mayor argues that the students use resources and the new tax would help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers in the Providence era.
If this measure were to pass it would be the first U.S. city to directly tax students for being enrolled in school.
College students make a number of contributions to a given city including volunteer work and more importantly, funds spent at retail stores, restaurants, and bars.
Why level the burden of the city’s financial woes on students who are not even legal residents? Especially at a time when it’s becoming difficult for many schools to retain their students due to financial hardship.
Although there is rising trend in students forgoing private institutions in favor of public schools to save costs, even public schools are raising tuition rates.
For those who have made the choice for public education, not only is it becoming harder to get accepted, they cost more. And for those who are already attending private schools, some cities now want to place even greater financial burdens on them by proposing taxes.
Is that fair?
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.