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Senator Grassley Requests CBO Analysis of College Athletics and Tax-Exempt Financing

April 30, 2007

Ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee Charles Grassley (R-IA) has asked the Congressional Budget Office to conduct two studies focusing on colleges and universities.  

In the first of two separate letters to CBO Director Peter Orszag, Grassley called for an analysis of what he calls the "commercialization of colleges and universities," and the identification of economic benefits institutions receive from the tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletics.

In a separate request, Grassley asked CBO to conduct a study of how institutions benefit from arbitrage.  Noting a December 2006 CBO report entitled, Nonprofit Hospitals and Tax Arbitrage, Grassley requested a similar analysis be conducted of colleges and universities, with a focus on "the practice of maintaining a large untaxed portfolio of assets while simultaneously borrowing with tax-exempt debt."

Grassley's requests were not endorsed by Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT), nor any other SFC members.  At this time, it is unclear if broader interest exists in these areas on the part of the Senate tax-writing committee.

Grassley press release and text of April 3 letters to CBO