Current tax reform is bad news for education

By: 
Toryn Rogers

Lawmakers in D.C. have until Dec. 22 to reconcile both versions of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. That self-imposed deadline is supposed to represent their gift to the American people. As if finals weren’t the most stressful way to end the semester.
It’s true, the Senate version is kinder in some ways to current students, their families, their teachers, and those former students whose loan debt follows them around like an creepy pair of painted eyes. But as the two versions get mashed together into a final product, there’s no guarantee that provisions from the House will be left behind. Besides, the Senate hits all of those groups hard in other areas.
Between both versions, there’s plenty that will affect students and educators. Taxing university endowments, counting as income tuition waivers that don’t actually give students money, eliminating deductions for loan interest and classroom supplies spending, hitting lower tax brackets with a higher tax burden; on their own each of these is scary. But the way they may end up working together is even worse.
If the bill passes with these provisions intact, it goes into effect January 1, 2018. You, and the students and educators you know, will see the tax hike shortly after. By 2027, everyone making less than $75K will see a tax increase. Most educators and students make less than that; many graduate students, like myself, live near or below the federal poverty line. If we had another $540 million a year to give in taxes, we’d tell you.
Urge your representatives – Tester, Daines, and Gianforte – to oppose H.R.1. Write, call, email, and chat up them and their staff to make it clear that Montanans, current and former students alike, cannot afford this bill.

Toryn Rogers
University of Montana (formerly Laurel)
M.A., Environmental Philosophy (anticipated 2018)

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