The president of Bryant University is threatening to sue the state over legislation under which the town of Smithfield will charge the school the cost of police, fire and rescue services.
President Ronald Machtley vows to file a lawsuit if the university can't reach a settlement with the town.
"Frankly, it's unconstitutional to select one or a select group of nonprofits and then say we're going to take away your tax exemption unless you pay. That's basically a common way of shaking down an organization or extortion. And that's why the General Assembly should never have passed this legislation, and I would urge the governor to veto it," Machtley told NBC 10 News.
State Sen. Stephen Archambault said the cost of police, fire and rescue services is between $250,000 and $350,000 annually.
State Rep. Thomas Winfield said taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for public safety responses at the university. The bill's supporters also say colleges in Providence are doing more to help the city with payments in lieu of taxes.
The governor hasn't indicated if he'll sign the bill.