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Davis whacked over tax vote impact on Illinois higher education

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

* News-Gazette

[US Rep. Rodney Davis], whose congressional district includes the University of Illinois, three other public universities, four private universities or colleges and several community college districts, said he was “cautiously optimistic” the tax break would be retained.

I think the total number of universities and colleges in Davis’ district is 13.


Rep. Rodney Davis knew that the GOP tax scam was going to hammer students in his district and increase the cost of college, but he voted for it anyway to deliver a tax break to millionaires and big corporations.

Here are just a few ways the GOP tax scam is going to hurt students, graduates, and their families:

These cuts to education assistance will cost students and families more than $71 billion over the next decade according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

And it’s not like Davis didn’t know how harmful this bill was – students made their voices heard loud and clear, a local editorial spelled it out, and Davis himself wrote a last-minute letter acknowledging that eliminating tuition waivers would hurt grad students. Then when Washington Republicans ignored his letter, he voted for the GOP tax scam anyway.

“Rep. Rodney Davis’ many promises to help students ring hollow with his vote to raise their taxes and make it harder for them to pay off their loans,” said DCCC spokesperson Jacob Peters. “By voting for this GOP tax scam, Rodney Davis has made it clear he cares more about giving tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations than he does about reducing the cost of college and easing the burden of student loan debt on students and their families.”

* Meanwhile

State and local government pension plans would be confronted with new costs and complications under the Republican tax bill the U.S. House approved last week.

Some, but not all, public pension investments would become subject to what’s known as the Unrelated Business Income Tax, or UBIT, if the current version of the House bill were to be enacted. The proposed change to how the tax is applied would make it so state and local government pension plans are treated in a way that is similar to private sector pensions, or nonprofit organizations.

Hank Kim, executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, said that if the House proposal were to go into effect, it would be the first time that state and local pension systems would have to pay federal tax on their investments.

“It’s a huge burden,” Kim added by phone this week.

Retired police, firefighters and teachers are a few examples of people covered by the state and local government pension plans that could be affected by the House proposal. Legislation the U.S. Senate Finance Committee has passed does not include similar UBIT provisions.

* Related…

* GOP tax plan rattles higher education: Congressional Republicans’ plans to slap unprecedented new taxes on higher education have left college leaders shocked and scrambling — the latest salvo in what some observers say is a growing culture war on a higher education system seen as elitist and out of touch.

* Tax bill reflects rift between many Republicans and higher education: In July, the Pew Research ­Center found that 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. That was up from 37 percent two years earlier. By contrast, a large majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents — 72 percent — said this year that colleges have a positive effect.

* Republican Tax Plan for Colleges Is a Self-Inflicted Wound: The U.S. university system is one of the country’s most important remaining economic advantages. Even as manufacturing industries have moved to China, the U.S. has retained its dominance in higher education. The research and technology output of American universities, and the skilled postgraduate workers they produce, are an important anchor keeping knowledge industries — Silicon Valley, the pharmaceutical industry and the oil services industry, to name just three — clustered in the country, instead of fleeing to places with lower labor costs. Degrade higher education, and the U.S. will become a much less attractive place for cutting-edge industries, and less important to the global economy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    Coooollll, good job looking out for your district, Rod

  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    “Tax breaks to millionaires…”
    Blah, blah, blah.

    Voters don’t listen to broken records.
    Need a new argument.

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Good wack. Maybe connect it to Gov. Rauner’s assault on higher education too. Republicans are purposely making it harder for the middle class to access higher education.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    VMan, check the polls across the board on the House tax bill and you’ll discover what voters are listening to and think about it.

    The proposal is a wet skunk to the electorate, but is a Christmas tree to the GOP donor class.

    Why do you think guys like Davis would vote against their constituents and districts?

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    ===Why do you think guys like Davis would vote against their constituents and districts?===

    Lol, I know, right? Oh well, I’m sure Trump will insult someone soon to keep the chattering classes distracted from the dumpster fire of a “tax” bill.

    Normally a vote like this would be costly for someone like Davis. But these are not normal times so he’ll probably get a pass.

  6. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    Davis is going to get hit pretty hard in next year’s election between the tax vote, the healthcare repeal vote, net neutrality, etc. In the past these items wouldn’t have hurt him as much, but he’s in a lean Dem district in what’s probably going to be a wave year as voters take out their frustration of Trump. These votes are going to get magnified in a way he has not seen since he was elected when Obama was president.

  7. - Don Gerard - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    You know, Gov Rauner once told me “taxing the wealthy is a gimmick. It doesn’t work.”

  8. - Ray del Camino - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    Are you listening, Mike Bost?

  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    Funny you folks are not attacking Durbin. You know, the guy who rails about the problems with student debt but didn’t do a thing with his party in power. He loved all the billions rolling in to the federal government from high interest rates. Didn’t give 2 hoots about how it was hurting families and causing higher education costs to zoom up.

  10. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Word gets it.

    This isn’t about the economy, helping the middle class, etc, as the Republican talking points say.

    It’s about the deep pocket Republican donors.

    Money and politics. Makes America great again. Not.

  11. - Keeping an eye on things - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    We need more statesmen and fewer politicians….people who will represent their constituents, not their party.

  12. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    Davis votes and works to “fix” things, all right, just not for his constituents.

  13. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    –Funny you folks are not attacking Durbin. –

    Pretty sure Durbin get’s attacked as well, although it’s probably more likely in a post about him. Just waiting for how this is all Nancy Pelosi’s fault in 3..2…

  14. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===Didn’t give 2 hoots about how it was hurting families and causing higher education costs to zoom up.===

    Huh? Stop making things up, and please stick to the topic at hand.

    Also, kindly pick a nickname so I can skip over your future comments.


  15. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Loud noises!

    That is really all it is anymore. Even some of the most ardent Madigan haters (not the folks here of course) are getting pretty tired of the same old thing.

  16. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    This UBIT arguement makes no sense. Public Plans today need to pay tax on investments which generate UBIT income. All plans who have decent tax legal advice structure around this issue without jeopardizing their tax free status

  17. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    @Anonymous - As someone who has a lot of student loan debt I can tell you that Dems like Durbin did make life better for students.

    Dems and Obama passed legislation that lowered the interest rates for federal-backed loans in the student loan reforms that got tacked on to Obamacare. Dems also stopped the pointless federal subsidies to bankster middlemen for the servicing of student loans.

    I will not forget on election day that Republicans like Rodney Davis are raising my taxes by eliminating the student loan interest deduction so that billionaire heirs and heiresses get out of paying estate tax.

    $2,500 a year may not matter to the donors Rodney cares about but as someone who makes mid-five figures it’s a big freaking deal. And that’s on top of his betrayal of Illinois taxpayers by pushing for us to face double taxation on our income by eliminating the state and local income tax deduction. Can’t wait to knock doors and phone bank next year to send him home.

  18. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    ==“Tax breaks to millionaires…”
    Blah, blah, blah.==

    ==VMan, check the polls across the board on the House tax bill and you’ll discover what voters are listening to and think about it.==

    I’m actually going to have to agree with VMan, prolly for different reasons than he has. He’s right! For years Dems have been using this same canned response on tax policy and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere - even when the national GOP goes out of their way to prove this correct.

    The DCCC and their counterparts need to stop talking in press-release legalese language all the time. It’s one of the reasons I’m quickly falling in love with Jordan Abudayyeh with the Pritzker campaign. Frankly, I also think this had a lot to do with Trumps vote numbers last year.

    Better to point out specifics - repeat over and over the fact that Rodney voted for a bill that gives breaks for training private jet staff, but voted to take away tax breaks for teachers buying school supplies for students. Repeat over and over the fact that Rodney voted to give huge corporations a 20% tax rate, but makes small businesses pay 25%. Repeat over and over the fact that Rodney voted to make tax brackets for rich folks lower forever, but temporary for the rest of us. At the very least use phrases like “for the rest of us” and other terms of inclusion. It’s not that hard - “Why did Davis vote to raise almost all of our taxes in 5 years, but makes Trumps (or Rauner’s) tax cut permanent?”

    Both national and Illinois dems need to get their act together on messaging. It makes me seriously wonder what all these high dollar campaign advisers the dems buy are doing for the money.

  19. - Downstate - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    I hope Davis staff is bringing this to his attention. All my middle class co-workers are incensed. Most will receive nothing, and I’m looking at a tax increase because of the removal of personal exemptions, yet rich folks across the board are receiving massive tax breaks. We will not forget this at the ballot box next year. He is badly misjudging the mood of the people, and his political future is looking grim.

  20. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    Sue, the new UBTI provisions affect pension investments not directly owned by the fund, like REITs or Real Estate Commingled Funds, where the ownership instrument is in the form of shares. Agree that directly owned real estate is/should be covered by LLCs or other “blockers.”

  21. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    AA- those taxes are always paid at the partnership level. I still don’t see the issue people are raising. Most PP’s avoid UBIT like the plague since it can disqualify the plan’s tax free status. It’s an easy issue to deal with and nothing I have seen in the pending legislation is contrary?

  22. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 5:36 pm:

    Sue, fwiw, the public pension lobby groups are raising two concerns. One is the one I mentioned (and I agree with you about current tax treatment) and the other is a change to taxation of gains on investments held less than three years. This is aimed at hedge funds, but could drag private equity and real estate into the mix. I have not read this language yet.

  23. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 10:07 pm:

    Pass the tax bill. Enjoy the tax cuts. That’s how he’ll get reelected.

    Find a better argument, guys.
    Acknowledge that the tax cuts are real for every tax bracket. Middle class saves 7%. CBL had no problem scoring it as true. Find a new argument.

    I stopped listening to the “tax cuts only for the rich” hoo-haa decades ago.

    As for Davis, this only hurts him if it doesn’t pass. If it does pass, voters will move on to the next argument. Don’t believe the polls. They’re only reflecting the negative bias dumped on this issue up to now. That all changes when a tax cut passes.

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