As you may be aware, U.S. House Republicans have proposed a bill that would regressively overhaul U.S. tax code, which includes changes that would dramatically impact students and student-workers throughout higher education.
In addition to many other concerning changes, including tax breaks for the wealthy, the new bill would repeal earlier tax code that stipulates that tuition waivers –– like the one we’ve won in our labor contract –– are excluded from taxable income. The new bill would instead treat our currently waived tuition as taxable income, which, as this analysis by one of our campus union stewards indicates, would significantly impact student workers’ already limited take-home pay. Because tuition is roughly three times as high for non-resident and international students, our union is particularly concerned about the even more drastic impacts of this bill on these student workers. We acknowledge the ways in which this proposed bill is connected to other anti-immigrant policies enacted under Trump.
As a union committed to the project of public education, we support progressive taxes to fund public goods and services like education. We have collaborated with community members to pass tax measures such as Propositions 30 and 55 to increase state funding for public education as part of our larger effort to fight for accessible, quality, and fully state-funded education. We oppose the current proposed tax bill, which would force student workers to pay taxes on tuition increases, against which we have been fighting the undemocratic UC Board of Regents for years. Our collective opposition to this bill is based on these issues.
What can I do?
It is crucial that we act together as a union to oppose this bill now. We are organizing each other to contact both UC President Janet Napolitano and our US House Representatives to urge them to publicly oppose this GOP bill. Napolitano can be reached at: (510) 987-9200 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find contact info for your State Representative here.
Below is a short, to-the-point sample script for your message:
Hello, my name is [name]. I’m a member of the UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865, and a undergraduate/graduate student at UC [campus] OR and a constituent of [Representative] from [zip code]. I’m calling to urge your office to publicly oppose the House GOP Tax Bill H.R. 1, which would make affording higher education further out of reach for many people. Specifically, I urge you to publicly oppose the bill’s repeal of the Qualified Tuition Reduction in Section 117(d) in the tax code. Thank you for your efforts on this issue.
Please pass this message on to your coworkers –– this awful bill must be stopped. We’ll be following up with members regarding next steps in resisting this anti-education, anti-worker bill and others like it.
Yours in Solidarity,
The Joint Council
UC Student-Workers Union, UAW 2865
- For more information about the way the tax bill would affect higher education, see http://www.chronicle.com/
- The numbers provided in the analysis are estimates based on average UC Berkeley teaching conditions, and they may differ slightly from individuals’ situations.