Hundreds rally at UC Berkeley to protest proposed graduate student tax hike

01 December, 2017, 04:38 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Walkout UA

Beezer de Martelly, a campus doctoral student in music and union member, led the demonstration in front of more than a hundred people, most of whom were graduate students. But whatever the metaphor, there is no doubt that if the tax provision becomes law, it will make it more hard for young innovators to pursue research and impose a stifling effect on discovery.

Earlier this month, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill. However, it is now not part of the bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Dana Cloud, a professor in SU's communication and rhetorical studies department and a member of the International Socialist Organization, said she fully supports Syracuse Graduate Employees United's decision to unionize.

In a November 14 email to the Duke community, President Vince Price outlined the six most concerning features of the House bill.

"It's clear congressional Republicans believe that massive student debt for our middle class students should just be a way of life", he said. We can hope; but, universities and their students must adjust to losing $65 billion over the next 10 years from the new tax plan. Our colleges and universities provide instruction for 12 million students, enrolled in 3,000 colleges and universities, and produce a startling number of inventions, including: polio vaccines, heart pacemakers, municipal water purification systems, space-based weather forecasting, advanced cancer therapies, jet airliners, the digital revolution, and many more. Chris Simmons, associate vice president for government relations, has been in regular touch with political leaders and their staff members.

"We're an easy target", Brookins says.

"It's a reality of life", she said. "They need to be calling Sens".

"I have friends on NSF grants-they're here exclusively because of that funding. So, of course, some college students and graduate students are going to be upset, but you have to weigh the pros and cons here", Eccarius said. The results include a strong social media campaign and national petition.

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At the University of Southern California, they held signs with sayings like "Graduate students research cures for cancer".

When comparing the historical tax structure versus the House plan by calculating the Cumulative Differential Tax Burden (CDTB), which is the sum of tax increases, over four years (approximately the length of time most students would be on full tuition), the problems pile up. "We call on Paxson today to speak out more about this bill and to stand up for grad students as well as others who will be affected by this bill", she added.

In other words, if you're a grad student, you already have to pay taxes on your probably modest stipend, but with this tax bill, you would also have to pay taxes on your waived tuition.

UC Berkeley faculty and administrators have joined the graduate students in condemning the GOP tax bills. The Senate's version of the bill - which does not now include the provision reclassifying tuition waivers - was approved Tuesday by the Senate Budget Committee, which is chaired by Sen.

The plan would also eliminate tax deductions for interest paid on student loans, Eaton added.

The group called on Kaler and Dean of Graduate Education Scott Lanyon to take further steps to protect graduate students.

"We're confident if it's not completely preserved, there will be some sort of compromise to where graduate students or other university workers are not footing all of the bill", Davis spokeswoman Ashley Phelps said. Stop this awful tax bill that ultimately will increase taxes for people on the low end of the pay scale, while giving billionaires and millionaires greatly lower taxes. The university is now working with the American Council on Education, a great resource for staying informed. If passed, both would have significant repercussions for the university's finances that would trickle down to financial aid and athletic scholarships.

"As this proposed legislation has serious potential to negatively impact the Duquesne community and higher education at-large, I have voiced the University's opposition to specific aspects of this bill to key legislators in Washington", he said.


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