The steady stream of news emerging from the nation’s capital can be overwhelming. NACUBO highlights key actions and provides the status of top higher education business concerns.
On Capitol Hill
Section 127 Expansion Legislation Introduced
Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand Section 127 employer-provided tuition benefits. The expansion would permit employers to direct benefits to student loan repayment for their employees in addition to the tuition reimbursement that the provision currently allows. The bill is similar to one introduced in the previous Congress, and an identical companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.
Senate Education Committee Chair Set on HEA Reauthorization
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has touted his desire to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) before he retires in 2020. At a public meeting on Feb. 4, Alexander named reauthorization priorities including simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, creation of a new income-based repayment plan, and construction of a new accountability system for colleges. The HEA was last reauthorized in 2008.
UBIT Parking Tax Repeal Bill Introduced
A new piece of legislation was introduced in the House by Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) that proposes repealing the new unrelated business income tax on employer-provided parking and transportation benefits. The bill proposes to offset the cost of eliminating the tax, initially passed as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, by raising the corporate tax rate by 0.03 percent. While there is generally bipartisan support for repeal of the tax on Capitol Hill, Rep. Clyburn’s legislation has very limited bipartisan support.
New Charitable Deduction Legislation Introduced
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) has introduced a bill aimed at incentivizing charitable giving in an attempt to offset an anticipated decline of charitable gifts following passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill would create an uncapped above-the-line charitable deduction for all taxpayers, regardless of whether or not they choose to itemize their tax returns. It is similar to legislation introduced by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) earlier this Congress.
Energy Efficiency Coalition Seeks 179D Extender
NACUBO has again signed letters from the Coalition for Energy Efficient Jobs & Investment to House and Senate leadership. The letters urge legislators to extend the Section 179D deduction for energy-efficient commercial and governmental buildings. The tax break expired on Dec. 31, 2017, but an extension would allow filers to utilize 179D until the end of 2018. NACUBO and others have also urged for the deduction to be expanded to nonprofit entities.
Issued in September 2018, NACUBO’s Tax Primer: A Brief Introduction to Higher Educating Tax Policy Issues continues to be vital reading for business officers. The document is a follow-up to NACUBO’s 2017 Tax Reform: A Call to Action for Colleges and Universities and is meant to provide a brief overview of tax issues under consideration and scrutiny following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. NACUBO urges business officers to use this resource to begin conversations with colleagues about how changes in tax policy affect everything from students and employees to major strategic financial decisions on campus.
What Did I Miss in Washington? January 23-February 4, 2019