Slaughter, Local Colleges Warn of the Dangers of House Republican Tax Bill on Area Students and Teachers
WASHINGTON, DC — As the House prepares to vote this afternoon on the Republican bill to provide tax cuts to the wealthy, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) and colleges and universities throughout Monroe County today highlighted its especially harmful impacts on area students and teachers. The bill would abolish a number of tax benefits geared toward making higher education more affordable, eliminating a key deduction for more than 42,000 people in Monroe County and a separate deduction for more than 290,000 teachers across New York. The Republican bill would also raise taxes for many middle class families nationwide while increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion.
“The Republican bill to provide tax cuts for the wealthy would make the rich even richer and leave our nation’s students and teachers to foot the bill. At a time when the cost of education is soaring nationwide, this bill would eliminate several deductions and credits like the student loan interest tax deduction that makes getting a college degree affordable for so many students. These cuts would raise $65 billion off the backs of our students and graduates just to give the wealthy a tax cut they don’t need. Even a deduction teachers rely on when using their own money to equip their classrooms would be eliminated. Our local colleges and universities understand that this bill robs resources instead of investing in our future,” said Slaughter. “In addition, if Republicans also get their way and repeal the state and local tax deduction, many state governments could be forced to raise the cost of essential public services, like schools and first responders, by raising other fees and taxes or by reducing services. An analysis by the National Education Association found that eliminating SALT would put nearly 24,628 education jobs at risk in New York alone and cut $250 billion in education funding nationwide over the next ten years.”
“As a college president, I'm concerned that several of the provisions included in the proposed tax plan will hurt SUNY students and their families, and I thank Rep. Slaughter for bringing light to these consequences. If our legislators eliminate or repeal measures that help make college attainable for those choosing to pursue a degree, they signal a disinvestment in our nation's future. These changes also would make it more difficult for graduates to repay college loans, with consequences for their ability to become productive citizens and consumers,” said Dr. Heidi R. Macpherson. Heidi Macpherson, PhD, President of The College at Brockport. “Ultimately, these changes are also likely to have a negative impact on donations that provide needed financial assistance and scholarships. This is not how our country should be investing in its future.”
“This tax bill would severely impact the University of Rochester in a number of ways and make higher education and health care potentially less affordable, less accessible and less financially secure. Through the elimination of provisions such as the student loan interest deduction, the Qualified Tuition Deduction, and the Educational Assistance Program, the bill will have profound consequences for our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for our employees and their children who utilize these programs to access higher education. There are many problematic provisions. Congress should not increase college costs or make a high quality higher education less accessible for middle-class and lower-income Americans. I thank Congresswoman Slaughter for her leadership on this issue,” said Joel Seligman, President and CEO, University of Rochester.
"Nazareth College works hard to ensure that a college education is both accessible and affordable for our students. We know that educational loans are still a reality for many of our students and their parents,” said Nazareth College President Daan Braveman. “It is very troubling that the House tax bill would eliminate a $2,500 tax deduction for many of our students who are diligently paying back their loans once in the workforce. We appreciate that Congresswoman Slaughter is fighting for our students.”
“The elimination of the student loan interest deduction would affect our most recent graduates as they are trying to get on their feet. The federal government already makes a profit on the loans they provide to both students and parents, there is no need to further increase the federal profit margin,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, in a letter to Slaughter.
In Monroe County, 42,121 people will lose the student loan interest deduction under the Republican bill, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress. All together, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the bill raises taxes on 36 million middle class families nationwide.
The Republican bill also takes numerous steps that would harm millions of students, employees, and teachers, including by ripping away the lifeline of the student loan interest deduction that 12 million graduates rely on, ending lifetime learning credits, ending tax-free tuition assistance from employers and decimating the state and local tax deduction that helps fund our schools. It also eliminates deductions for teachers who buy school supplies for their students, stripping a key deduction away from 290,480 teachers in New York, according to 2015 data from the IRS.
The bill would also repeal tuition waivers for employees of local colleges and universities. The University of Rochester alone saw 850 individuals from the university receive tuition waivers for their education last year, with 40 percent being nurses seeking to acquire and maintain the skills they need to provide quality care. Eliminating this waiver would also harm college and university employees who receive tuition waivers for their children to get an education at the institution by forcing them to confront an increased tax burden on this benefit.