What’s hard about the new blow to Victorian uni budgets

This one comes from the state government, which includes them in a levy on businesses paying $10m or more in wages, to fund mental health. VCs are not happy

The levy is 0.5 per cent per dollar on wage bills above $10m, with a further 0.5 per cent liable above $100m.

To which Victorian VCs Committee chair Duncan Maskell (Uni Melbourne) responds,

“Victorian vice chancellors were surprised to learn that the payroll tax levy will apply to local universities given our charitable status and given we already spend a great deal of money doing so much work in mental health.”

The VVCC wants a meeting with government – which might be a waste of time – if universities are exempt other industries would want to follow.

What’s worse for vice chancellors than what it will cost is the state government’s apparent calculation that there is no widespread electoral anxiety about to the financial condition of universities. Other state and territory treasurers will take note of what the federal government had long ago concluded.

The Victorian Government might also take some small pleasure in the levy, given Uni Melbourne beat it in a land tax case last month in the Victorian Supreme Court (CMM April 7).