Windows On Theory

The GOP Tax plan and universities

In his State of the Union address in January 1984, president Ronald Reagan announced that he directed his treasury secretary to simplify and reform the U.S., tax code. Thus began a process of 1.5 years until in June 1985, the house Ways and Means committee began formal discussion on the bill, which it voted on November 1985, and after a yearlong process in Congress, the bill was signed into law by president Reagan on October 1986.

In contrast, the Republican party is currently “desperate for a win” and is trying to move a massive tax reform involving about 8 trillion dollars (cutting about 5 trillion dollars of taxes and partially paying for by increasing about 3.5 trillion dollars in other taxes) in a very short period of time.

When such huge decisions are done in haste, it’s likely to cause “collateral damage”. In particular, universities and academic research, which have been a major engine of growth in the U.S. economy, have been targeted by this ostensibly “pro growth” tax plan as a way to finance its cuts in other places. There are several provisions in it that are particularly harmful to universities, including taxing endowments,  eliminating student loan interest deductions, and considering graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income.

As Luca says, if you are a U.S. citizen, and particularly if you have a Republican congressional representative, please contact him or her and make your voice heard.