Florida Gov. Rick Scott officially urged Yale University – one of the country’s most prestigious institutions – to move from Connecticut to the Sunshine State Tuesday.
Scott said the Ivy League school should become part of a tax revolt and shift its more than 12,000 students and 4,000 professors to Florida.
"That would be fun, wouldn't it?" Scott said. "That would be a great day."
Scott explained he is targeting Yale because Connecticut’s state legislators are considering a bill that would tax Yale’s massive $25.6 billion university endowment. Connecticut is currently struggling with a state budget deficit.
The Republican governor promised Yale that if it moved down south, Florida would greet the “world-renowned university” with open arms and would not impose any taxes on them. Scott’s pitch comes a few months after Florida tried to court General Electric to move. GE announced in January it was moving to Boston’s Seaport District from Fairfield, Conn., where it employs about 800 people.
"If you are in business in Connecticut, you are going to have to move; you can't compete," Scott said.
However, Yale said it has no plans to take up Scott’s invitation.
"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," Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said. "We're looking forward to reaching even greater heights in education, research and civic engagement over the next three centuries and more."
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Scott was “perplexed” when he learned that Yale would be rejecting his proposal.
“Why? They’re going to tax their endowment income,” he told the newspaper.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, opposes any tax increase and told the Sentinel that Scott’s play was a partisan gimmick.
“Has Gov. Scott sent out a press release claiming to recruit companies from North Carolina after its Republican governor just signed a discriminatory, anti-gay law? Or is this more about partisan politics than anything else?” a spokesman for Malloy said in an email to the newspaper.
Scott has tried to poach jobs from other states for several years including sending letters to executives at Fortune 500 companies. In 2015 he took trips to Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, New York and Connecticut in an effort to convince businesses to move.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.