29 November 2017

To: Oregon State University facuty, staff and students

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

Dear Oregon State University employees and students,

I am writing to update you on OSU’s efforts concerning federal tax reform being debated in Congress.

Since President Ray’s communication on this matter on Nov. 16, university officials have continued to work with the Oregon federal delegation and national higher education partners to express our serious concerns with provisions in the House and Senate tax reform bills that would be harmful to our university community and OSU’s mission.

Below is the status of and next steps involving tax reform legislation:

  • On November 16, the House passed H.R.1 -- the Tax Reform and Jobs Act. 
  • On Tuesday, November 28, the Senate advanced its own version of tax reform legislation out of committee and the legislation now heads to the floor for debate and a vote by the full Senate. 
  • Senate GOP members will work this week to make further changes to the tax bill in an effort to have 50 or more votes in support of the legislation.
  • Oregon’s Senators Wyden and Merkley, who are both Democrats, have already signaled their opposition to the Senate GOP’s legislation. 
  • If the legislation passes the Senate, GOP leaders from the Senate and House will work to agree on compromise legislation that could pass both chambers.
  • Congressional GOP leaders have expressed their intent to pass final tax reform before the end of the year -- and likely before Congress leaves for its holiday break.

Oregon State University remains opposed to many provisions included in the tax reform legislation moving through Congress (please see the attached chart).

Of particular concern are harmful changes proposed in the House legislation to alter student and family tax code provisions that we believe help individuals and families save and pay for college. The proposed changes include repealing the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Student Loan Interest Deduction, and taxing as income the tuition reductions and remissions we provide to graduate students. At this point, the Senate’s proposal does not include these provisions. Oregon State is urging the Senate to remain firm and keep these alterations out of any tax reform legislation that moves forward.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to update you on the status of the tax reform legislation.

In the meantime, you may wish to contact members of the Oregon Congressional delegation to communicate your personal opinions. Contact information for offices of the Oregon federal delegation is available on OSU’s Office of Government Relations website.

If you have additional questions, please contact Gabrielle Serra, OSU’s director of federal relations at Gabrielle.Serra@oregonstate.edu, who will assist you.

Sincerely,

Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President