The House and Senate Republican tax bills are both very bad for many constituencies, but they're particularly bad for graduate students.
Under both bills, graduate students would be taxed on the full value of their benefits rather than what they actually take home, meaning a student who takes home $30,000 could be taxed as if they were taking home $60,000.
Over 30 House Republicans have now signed a letter opposing the tax on graduate students, which is good, I suppose, but they all voted for it!
“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 letter states. It further notes that the policy undermines the goals of tax reform—“to fuel economic growth, create jobs, and raise wages”—contending that a well-educated workforce is necessary to do so.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) led the effort, following office visits with graduate students and schools in his district who came to Washington to voice their concerns. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said at the American Enterprise Institute last Tuesday that the tax on tuition waivers was part of an attempt to “go down to the bones of the tax code” and simplify it. All of the co-signers on Sessions’ letter voted in favor of the House tax bill last month.
I can't quip that these are the consequences of voting for a bill at 2 a.m. without reading it because, for House Republicans, that was not the case. The House GOP bill was available for a week before they voted on it, which still isn't a great deal of time, but it's enough time to notice something like this.
We did. If the little people sitting at home can read about how badly graduate students are going to get fucked over, why can't House Republicans? Why not thoroughly evaluate the bill before voting for it? Why not at least open the front page of the Washington Post or even the Wall Street Journal before you vote?