PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Formally known as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, proponents believe big tax breaks to businesses will entice them to stay in America and help the economy grow. But critics, like both Rhode Island senators, aren’t being quiet about the negative impacts they say it would have.
At a local assisted living community Rhode Island Democratic Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse spent part of the morning on Nov. 17 speaking out against the House Republican’s tax plan. Their focus was cuts the plan would mean for medicare and a repeal of the medical expense deduction.
But right at the end of his remarks Senator Whitehouse noted the impact he says the tax reform plan would have on graduate students.
“It’s really unfair to be going after starving grad students, it’s just one of the many ways in which this is an unbalanced and unfair proposal,” he said.
Under the plan, tuition that’s waived for graduate students who work on campus as well as stipends some may receive would be taxable. According to the Council on Graduate Schools, there are almost 9,000 graduate students enrolled in the state.
“It particularly hurts Rhode island because we’ve got such a big university community so this one will come home to roost in our state,” said Whitehouse.
Just yesterday, Rhode Island House minority leader and gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan was at the White House for a discussion about this tax reform plan. She says the economic growth it will create will be worth it and will eventually help grad students down the road.
“I know that they rack up huge huge debt but if there are plentiful jobs out there, if our economy is really steaming along we can find ways to help them because we need doctors,” she said.
Republican state representative and U.S. Senate candidate Bobby Nardolillo said overall he also supports the tax plan touting its tax cuts and also saying it will help the economy grow.
“You cant pick and choose the pieces you support but if you could, that would be one I don’t,” he said about the increased taxes on graduate students.