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Rally 12/13: If Tuition gets Taxed, Grad Students get Axed

Submitted by bencarroll on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:45

As Washington moves forward to finalize a tax plan that will target graduate worker wallets, it is incumbent on all of us to take action up until the very last moment to prevent this bill from passing and prevent our tuition remission from being taxed. In this uncertain climate, our actions are focusing on our representatives in DC and our decision makers at Rutgers University. Over the last several several weeks, graduate workers at Rutgers have done tremendous work to pressure GOP legislators and Rutgers. From a 150 person rallyoutside Senator Pat Toomey’s office to an impromptu rally at Voorhees Mall on the 29th to a 40 person town-hall meeting where we grilled Chancellor Dutta on his plan for graduate tuition should the bill pass -- graduate workers at Rutgers are flexing their muscles and showing their power!

And we CANNOT STOP until the tuition waiver tax is taken out of this terrible plan, so please join us in action this week as we put pressure on GOP legislators and our campus leadership.

Wednesday Rally: If Tuition gets Taxed, Grad Students get Axed

Join us at 3 PM at Brower Commons (across the street from the College Ave Student Center) where we’ll be rallying against the tax bill and demanding that Rutgers abolish graduate tuition. This event is the culmination of making our voices heard at rallies, town-halls, and walk-outs throughout the semester. In spite of all of our collective action, the administration has yet to publicly support grad students in face of the tax bill. This rally is the MOST IMPORTANT place yet for us to demonstrate that we will not tolerate their inaction. This is the final push of the semester to reaffirm our position and make sure Rutgers knows that we are not going away quietly. Let’s turn up the heat on Congress and the Rutgers administration!

Co-hosted by the Rutgers AAUP-AFT and the Rutgers New Brunswick GSA

Where: Brower Commons - across the street from the College Ave Student Center/Panera
When: 3 pm - 4:30 pm

** If you're interested in speaking email abarcy@rutgersaaup.org ** 

Week-Long Call Up

Leading up the rally, call the New Jersey and New York Congressmen most likely to vote to include the tuition tax in a final version of the bill:

Frank LoBiondo (NJ) 202-225-6572 @RepLoBiondo
Tom MacArthur (NJ) 202-225-4765 @RepTomMacArthur
Christopher Smith (NJ) 202-225-3765 @RepChrisSmith
Leonard Lance (NJ) 202-225-5361 @RepLanceNJ7
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) 202-225-5034 @USRepRodney
Lee Zeldin (NY) 202-225-3826 @RepLeeZeldin
Peter King (NY) 202-225-7896 @RepPeteKing
Dan Donovan (NY) 202-225-3371 @RepDanDonovan

Tuesday Speak Out

Join USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops) in the Fight for Fifteen at the Board of Trustees Meeting (3pm Douglass Student Center) to demand financial security for all campus workers -- including doctoral students working hourly in our labs & dining halls. Every step of the way, our allies in USAS have mobilized their members against the tax plan. It’s now our responsibility to stand with them. Show the university that these issues are related - an injury to one is an injury to all.

For a Full Overview of the Tax Plan’s Trajectory Read Below …

Update on the Tax Plan

Now that both versions of the bill have passed in the House and the Senate, the bills have gone to a conference committee made up of members of both Houses of Congress, who are in now the process reconciling the two versions of the bill. The new reconciled bill will then go back to the Houses of Congress for a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote (without the option to amend). It is unclear what parts of the two bills will end up in the final reconciled one.

At present, the provision to make tuition remission taxable income is in the House version of the bill but not the Senate version. In response to walkouts, rallies, and petitions organized by graduate students at Rutgers and throughout the country, a number of Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the tuition remission provision. On Friday, 31 Republican House members signed a letter to Republican House and Senate leadership criticizing the provision to tax tuition remission.

This shows that all of your work has been paying off and we are getting through in making Republican lawmakers recognize and respect the important role that graduate student workers play in Higher Education. However, the reconciliation process is still ongoing and the fact that the House Republicans felt compelled to write the letter to Republican leadership at all indicates that our work to insure that the tuition remission provision is excluded from the final version of the bill is not yet over.

The conference committee is likely to decide on the final version of the bill this week so it is absolutely crucial that we come together for one last push to preserve the accessibility and affordability of graduate education.

Every action matters because we matter. Together we can continue to fighting for our future and America’s future.

ANY tax plan that increases our tax burden by taxing tuition waivers
ANY tax plan that limits the ability of students to pay off loans
ANY tax plan that targets our communities

is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

In Solidarity,

Matthew Welsh, Mathematics
Caley Howland, Philosophy
Austin Baker, Philosophy
Morgan Moyer, Linguistics
Na’ama Av-Shalom, Education
Kathleen Farley, Biology

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