Penn President Amy Gutmann condemned a proposed Republican tax plan in an emailed statement sent to the Penn community on Thursday. The statement was also signed by Provost Wendell Pritchett and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli.
The proposal, which was unveiled last Thursday, is a $1.5 trillion plan that calls for a sweeping rewrite of the current tax code and could deliver significant cuts in the corporate tax rate — a reduction from 35 percent to 20 percent — and serious costs for universities. While private institutions are currently exempt from taxation on their investment income, this would change under the Republican plan, which would impose a 1.4 percent excise tax on universities like Penn.
Graduate students also stand to lose out, as the new set of policies would tax students' tuition waivers as regular income.
According to the email, Penn is working with peer schools and professional groups through its Office of Government and Community Affairs and representatives in Washington to inform elected officials. The University currently spends over a million dollars a year on lobbying efforts, the highest in the Ivy League.
"We believe strongly that many of these changes would have a detrimental impact on our students, on Penn families, on our institution, and on the mission of higher education," the statement read. "At this pivotal moment, we urge you to express your views through social media and directly to elected officials in the House of Representatives and the Senate."
Vice President of Budget and Management Analysis Trevor Lewis referred the Daily Pennsylvanian to the University's statement to the Penn community when asked how the proposed tax plan could directly affect Penn.
"At this stage, it would be premature to comment as to the impact on University operations," his emailed statement read.
This is not the first time Penn administrators have released statements in reaction to policies proposed under the Trump administration. After Trump announced the impending end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, Gutmann released a statement condemning the repeal of DACA.