by David Safier
As I read details of the new GOP tax plan in an AP article in the Star, it sounded, well, not too bad — grading on a Republican curve, anyway.
Then I read elsewhere the plan would hit blue state taxpayers harder than red staters. I shoulda guessed.
Politico has a good, short breakdown of how the tax plan would affect teachers, students and people carrying student loans. The first two items sound OK. It gets pretty grim after that.
EDUCATION IN TAX REFORM IN 30 SECONDS: The House Ways and Means proposal for tax reform would (take a deep breath): make the American Opportunity Tax Credit more refundable; stop taxing Pell Grant refunds as income; end tax deductions for tuition, student loan interest and teachers’ classroom supplies; tax student loan forgiveness for public servants, “section 127” programs that contribute to paying for employees’ higher education, and tuition discounts for college employees; and kill Coverdell savings accounts and zone academy bonds. In all, it would slim 15 higher ed tax provisions down to five. Teachers would be particularly hard-hit, losing two special set-asides, although the plan’s author, Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), says the classroom deduction would be more than offset by lower rates and overall simplification. All the details in this document: http://politico.pro/1kkPdcK.
—The NEA isn’t convinced of the plan's wisdom: Mary Kusler said collectively last year, teachers spent $1.6 billion on classroom materials out of their own wages. “We see the elimination of this deduction as a direct harm to public school students in this country.” And the student loan proposal “defeats the purpose of using loan forgiveness as a way to attract teachers,” Kusler said. And, she said, Camp's plan shouldn't be so quickly dismissed, as some have already done, because it could be the point of conversation in the future.