A new compromise between leading Republicans and President Obama to extend an expiring tax policy may end up benefiting some of its student opponents.
In a Dec. 7 news conference, Obama agreed to extend former President Bush’s income tax cuts for all American citizens — as opposed to his former stance to extend the benefits for all but the wealthiest two percent of Americans.
According to a Dec. 7 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the compromise — which will be presented to the Senate Wednesday — would “include a tuition tax credit worth up to $2,500, a student-loan interest deduction worth up to $2,500, and a benefit that allows companies to provide up to $5,250 in tax-free tuition assistance to their employees.”
“I’m not going to lobby one way or the other for the bill’s passage, but I did lobby to have those exclusions in the bill,” Penn’s Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs Bill Andresen said. “With such a controversial piece of legislation, the best thing we can do is to make sure those things are in.”
Andresen said Penn doesn’t have a stance on the actual tax cuts, but “this is the big legislation that will be passed this year, so we want to make sure the provisions Penn wants are included.”
He also said the bill is likely to pass. “Maybe there will be a few small changes, but I’d be really surprised if it doesn’t pass,” Andresen said, noting that Penn students opposed to the tax cuts may benefit from the deal.
“There may be other issues they care about, but it’s very possible that those with concerns about tax legislation could end up benefiting,” he said.
For College junior and outgoing Penn Democrats President Emma Ellman-Golan, the bill creates frustration. “It’s so late in the game now that you have to wrap a ton of things into one bill,” she said. “I tremendously support investments in education, but we cannot afford to extend tax cuts for the wealthy. I understand that’s how Congress works, but it’s still frustrating.”
She added that Penn Dems “stands behind the president” in his response to Republican opposition. “Republicans haven’t shown any interest in bipartisanship,” she said. “It feels like [Democrats] are conceding because they haven’t given much up.” However, she would not comment as to whether Penn Dems supports or opposes the proposed compromise.
College Republicans Treasurer and Wharton junior Charles Gray, a former columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian, has different reasons for finding the compromise less than satisfactory. According to Gray, the tax cuts would create necessary economic growth, but he is “a little concerned that they’re only being extended for two years.”
“People want certainty and they want to know five or 10 years from now what their tax rates are going to be,” Gray said.
He added that though the tuition credits may be seen as government spending, they were included to make the package more agreeable. “Repubs can be said to be concerned about the growth of government spending, but they’re most concerned with tax cuts,” he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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