Thursday, January 23, 2020
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31 Republicans challenge tax on grad tuition waivers

Thirty-one Republican members of Congress signed a letter yesterday to House and Senate leaders, asking them to keep tuition waivers graduate students receive from universities tax free, despite a provision in the bill passed by the House that would count those tuition waivers as taxable income.

Teaching assistant orientation at Vanderbilt Univ. (Center for Teaching-Vanderbilt / Flickr CC)

“A tax on graduate tuition waivers would be unfair, would undermine our competitive position, and would inhibit the economic growth that tax reform promises,” the representatives wrote. In so doing, they may have doomed the provision in the final version of the bill that comes out of conference and is sent to President Donald Trump.

The lawmakers refer to Amazon’s intention to locate its second world headquarters in an area with a “highly educated labor pool” and a “strong university system.” If the tax reform act, whatever it ends up being, is supposed to spur job creation, making universities non-functional by taking away opportunities for grad students to attend—grad students teach many, many classes, especially at large research universities—isn’t the way to go.

“Tax policy should make our country more competitive, and creating barriers to technological progress is contrary to that goal,” they wrote. “We strongly urge you to ensure that this harmful provision is not in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Signers (all Republican representatives)

  1. Pete Sessions of Texas
  2. Phil Roe, MD, of Tennessee
  3. Lamar Smith of Texas
  4. Ed Royce of California
  5. Tom Cole of Oklahoma
  6. Steve Stivers of Ohio
  7. Michael C Burgess, MD, of Texas
  8. F James Sensenbrenner Jr of Wisconsin
  9. John Culberson of Texas
  10. Randy Hultgren of Illinois
  11. David B McKinley, PE, of West Virginia
  12. Kevin Yoder of Kansas
  13. Doug Lamborn of Colorado
  14. Blake Farenthold of Texas
  15. Rodney Davis of Illinois
  16. Jodey Arrington of Texas
  17. Chris Collins of New York
  18. Luke Messer of Indiana
  19. Evan Jenkins of West Virginia
  20. John Katko of New York
  21. Bill Johnson of Ohio
  22. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  23. Ted Yoho, DVM, of Florida
  24. Bradley Byrne of Alabama
  25. Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania
  26. Roger Marshall, MD, of Kansas
  27. Chris Stewart of Utah
  28. Earl L “Buddy” Carter of Georgia
  29. Susan W Brooks of Indiana
  30. Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania
  31. Bill Flores of Texas
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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