Interesting article from Inside Higher Ed.

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have urged the U.S. treasury secretary to change the federal tax form that many tax-exempt entities file each year, with the goal of ramping up scrutiny of the complex financial operations of private nonprofit colleges and hospitals. The letter from Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) offers some new insights — worrisome to college tax experts — into the senators’ interest in the possibility of penalizing institutions that are perceived as spending too small a proportion of their endowment assets.

“While we always hear that sunshine is the best disinfectant, sunshine can’t do its work unless we open the blinds,” the senators wrote in their letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. “The sooner we open those blinds the better.”

Great stuff. Wouldn’t it be fun if the Form 990s told us more about Williams? I think so! As a concrete suggestion, I would like to see salary/benefit information for whichever group is larger: either the top 5 (as now) or for everyone who makes more than X, where X is set at some high-but-not-extreme level, say the salary of a US Representative, currently $165,000.

Don’t want people to know your salary? Don’t work for an organization that doesn’t pay taxes.

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