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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Senate Committee Seeks Input on Tax Reform

June 26, 2017

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has asked for public input as he leads the committee’s work on comprehensive tax reform efforts.

“After years of committee hearings, public statements, working groups, and conceptual exercises, Congress is poised to make significant steps toward comprehensive tax reform,” Hatch said in a June 16 letter. He called specifically for recommendations on:

  1. “Providing much-needed tax relief to middle-class individuals and families through reforms to the individual income tax system;
  2. Strengthening businesses—both large and small—by lowering tax rates and broadening the relevant tax base in order to put the economy on a better growth path and create jobs;
  3. Removing impediments and disincentives for savings and investment that exist in the current tax system; and
  4. Updating our international tax system in order to make our nation more competitive in the global economy and preserve our tax base.”

Submissions may be made to the Senate Finance Committee at The deadline to respond is July 17.

While existing tax proposals are short on specifics, there is potential that institutions of higher education could face significant impacts once we see more detailed offerings. House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump could dramatically alter the charitable giving landscape, and some lawmakers have called for new endowment taxes or payout mandates (Ryan released a plan in 2016 and Trump offered his plan earlier this year). 

In developing comments, institutions may want to consider these talking points on Endowments and Charitable Giving and Tax-Exempt Bonds. Additionally, NACUBO highly recommends reviewing and commenting on the proposals included in the “Camp Draft.” This 2014 legislation, introduced by then-House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), included provisions that, taken together, would significantly impact students and their families, the higher education workforce, and the fundamental business operations of colleges and universities by altering student and family education tax benefits, employee tax benefits, charitable giving, tax-exempt bond financing, and treatment of unrelated business income, while imposing significant new penalties and excise taxes. Though Camp has retired, it is possible that Republicans will build their tax bill on his fundamental ideas.

NACUBO also encourages campus business officers to consider:

  • Meeting with your communications and government relations teams to discuss these and other issues of concern related to federal policies.
  • Writing an op-ed piece for publication in your student, local, or regional newspaper.
  • Asking your campus president if he or she needs any talking points on these issues for his or her next visit to Capitol Hill.
  • Inviting a member of Congress or their staff to visit campus during the next recess, the week of July 3, or during the monthlong August congressional recess.


Liz Clark
Senior Director, Federal Affairs

Mary Bachinger
Director, Tax Policy

Megan Schneider
Assistant Director, Federal Affairs