Draft Tax Overhaul Plan Circulating in House
This past Wednesday, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp introduced a discussion draft with the intention to have it lay the foundation for future comprehensive tax reform legislation. The framework contained a number of higher education provisions that would impact universities, university employees, and students. Among these proposals, Inside Higher Ed reported that it would:
• "Combine the various education-related tax breaks into one, making permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit and making it more refundable (and hence more accessible to low-income students) than the existing higher education credits. The credit would be available only for the first four years of college -- in other words, excluding graduate education.
• Repeal several tax breaks that help students and families, including the in-school interest deduction on student loans, the exemption for most student loan forgiveness programs, and the popular tax break that flows to employers who pay their employees' education expenses.
• Make taxable any tuition waiver or remission that college employees (or their children) get from their own or other postsecondary institutions -- a popular benefit for those working in higher education, including graduate students.
• Limit to $1,200 (in 2014) the amount of a student employee's earnings that are exempted from Social Security tax."
OGR is monitoring the legislation and collaborating with our peer institutions to provide feedback to Congress. The higher ed proposals are modeled after a bill filed by Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Diane Black.
Senate Legislation Filed to Create Network of Regional Manufacturing Institutes
Exciting recent announcements—including ours—about new advanced manufacturing innovation institutes has sparked renewed momentum for related legislation. Last August, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Revitalize American Manufacturing Act of 2013 (S. 1468), a bill which would establish a network of centers for manufacturing innovation. Representatives Tom Reed (D-NY) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) introduced similar legislation (H.R. 2996) in the House.
This week, AAU and APLU sent a letter endorsing the bill, and UI signed onto a letter led by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation also expressing support for the bill. This legislation would authorize new advanced manufacturing hubs beyond those announced in Chicago, Detroit, Raleigh, and Youngstown, providing additional institutes to which the Digital Lab could connect.
Timely Innovation Deficit Video Released
In light of Tuesday's release of the FY15 President’s Budget Request, and with the appropriations process starting soon, 14 university, science, and business associations launched a new video which explains the "innovation deficit," the widening gap between needed and actual federal investments in research and higher education. The video creatively conveys why it is crucial for Congress to take steps to close the innovation deficit. OGR is sharing the video via social media as well as with the Illinois Congressional delegation.
ILLINOIS IN DC
The Director of Urbana's Applied Research Institute, Dr. Jeff Binder, met with the offices of Representatives Rodney Davis and Randy Hultgren as well as the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. In the meetings, he discussed ARI’s unique capabilities and its desire to collaborate with industry and national laboratories. Dr. Binder has 25 years experience in national labs, having worked both at the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Labs.
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations