Make college tax deductible

Recognizing the importance of higher education for success in the modern, globalized world, Missouri state senator Timothy Green recently introduced a bill that would create a deduction against taxpayer’s state income tax for the value of college tuition. The bill stipulates that the taxpayer’s federal adjusted gross income must be less than $200,000 to receive the deduction and the student must be registered at half-time status or more. As students at Washington University, many of us are registered to vote in Missouri and elected a representative who might have the possibility to influence the future of this bill. We should be interested in state issues relating to higher education and make our voices heard on these issues regardless of whether we would directly benefit from the change.

Senate Bill 107 has the potential to make higher education much more affordable for Missouri residents. Although this move would help Washington University attract more qualified students from the state of Missouri, students who might not otherwise be able to afford the education, it will also help residents in Missouri to better afford higher education in general. The benefits of helping families afford higher education cannot be stressed enough. With an uncertain economy, the need to spend money to meet this month’s bills can make it difficult for families to make the long-term financial sacrifices needed to send their kids to college. But the more we educate people, as a society, the more likely we are to find solutions to the problems we currently face, including economic downturns. Investing in Missourians will pay off in the long run.

In fact, investment in education is so important that we believe this bill should go further to help improve the affordability of higher education for each potential student. Rather than set a flat adjusted gross income of $200,000 as the limit for qualifying for the tax deduction, we believe the bill should provide more nuanced guidelines that would take into account the number of students in a family attending college and other special circumstances.

Unfortunately, in the course of a legislative session only a few of the proposed bills actually make it to the Senate floor to receive a vote, and only a few of those bills actually pass. While we don’t have control over the legislative process, our interest and participation can influence which bills actually move throughout the session. Yesterday, SB 107 had its first hearing in the Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee. This committee will decide whether the bill makes it to the floor. Right now we have the chance to influence the members of this committee by e-mailing them and letting them know we care about the decision they make with regard to this bill. We can also e-mail our elected senators and let them know that we want them to exert whatever influence they can on the process to help SB 107 become law.

At the local level especially, even the smallest action can truly make a difference. Enacting SB 107 would be a positive step toward increasing access to education by removing some of its financial burden. Take a moment to help make this bill a reality by voicing your support.

Find members of the Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee:
Contact your state senator to express your support:
24th District—Joan Bray: [email protected]
14th district—Rita Heard Days:
City 4th—Jeff Smith:

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