Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Passage of Senate Tax Bill
December 02, 2017

The Senate tax bill represents a significant improvement over the measure passed by the House. We are especially pleased that the Senate recognizes the importance of education benefits that help millions of middle- and lower-income students and families finance a college education. We hope that any final legislation will leave these critically important benefits in place.

It also is important that the Senate bill reduces the number of institutions affected by the proposed tax on the endowments of private colleges and universities. While the idea of taxing endowments remains fundamentally flawed, this step will enable about 40 more institutions to direct their resources to student aid, research, faculty salaries, and other educational purposes rather than diverting some of them to the U.S. Treasury.

But the Senate bill also includes problematic provisions. The change to the standard deduction would result in reduced charitable deductions, which could easily undermine all nonprofit institutions, including colleges and universities, through a loss of charitable gifts. We also are concerned that changes to the state and local tax deduction would harm state budgets, with resulting serious implications for state investment in public higher education.

As a result, we are deeply concerned that at a time when postsecondary degrees and credentials have never been more important to individuals, the economy, and our society, the tax reform proposal approved by the Senate could make college more expensive and undermine the financial stability of higher education institutions. This is simply wrong-headed.

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