Congress is back in session today, and the Senate is expected to vote on their comprehensive tax reform bill this week. However, the bill is still riddled with proposals that are harmful to students, patients, insurers, families, the poor and others.
Higher Education can now be added to the list of issues with the Senate’s tax reform bill
With a 1.4% excise tax on private college and university endowments, many institutions will struggle to balance their budget without sacrificing student scholarships. This is problematic because it means fewer low-income individuals will have access to specialized degrees in their chosen fields. Many Senators may think this only impacts schools with enormous endowments but there are many small, private institutions in this country (Westminster being a local example) whose endowments are comparatively small and for whom the tax makes an enormous difference in serving a broad range of students. The revenue from this tax is almost incredibly insignificant, yet the harm it would do to students trying to access higher education is immense.
Also at stake: healthcare
The tax bill also undercuts health care by repealing the individual mandate for health insurance. The CBO estimates this will cause 13 million people to lose health care coverage and will increase health insurance premiums by 10% per year for others. It is also expected to throw the insurance markets into chaos. That’s why the American Medical Association, Family Physicians, hospitals and major insurance carriers have all come out strongly against the bill.
Harm to our most vulnerable
The Congressional Budget Office released a report on Sunday indicating that the Senate tax reform bill hurts the poor even more than was originally thought. Utahns earning under $30,000 would be worse off by 2019 under the new bill, particularly because of an increase in health care costs. Utahns earning under $40,000 would be worse off by 2021. The bill would negatively impact everyone by increasing the deficit by $1.4 trillion.
CALL TO ACTION
- Call Senators Hatch and Lee and let them know that you oppose the 1.4% excise tax on endowments to private colleges and universities in the Senate’s tax bill because it will harm students who need scholarships and will reduce access to higher education opportunities. Be sure to indicate if you are a student, educator, or alum of a private college or university. The Senate can save money in this budget area by instead reducing financial aid to for-profit colleges, given their high dropout rates and limited job prospects for graduates.
- Tell Senators Hatch and Lee that you oppose harmful health care policy in the tax reform bill. Call every day this week if you can – and task them to oppose these damaging proposals in the tax reform bill.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)