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Economic Prosperity

As Sen. Portman Keynotes Ohio State Commencement, Republican Tax Plan Threatens Higher Education

Dec 15, 2017

Under the cloud of the Republican tax plan, Senator Rob Portman is scheduled to deliver the keynote address this Sunday at The Ohio State University’s Autumn Commencement. Senator Portman’s address comes two weeks after the Ohio Republican voted in favor of a tax plan that could put college out of reach for many Ohio families and could strain the state’s budget.

According to Inside Higher Ed, the Senate Republican tax plan — which narrowly passed in a late night vote earlier this month — carries major implications for higher education and would “adversely affect charitable giving and state budgets that support public colleges and universities.”

In November, Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake and University of Michigan President Mark S. Schlissel penned a joint op-ed urging Washington lawmakers to pass “a smarter tax-reform bill, one that that protects the interests and aspirations of our students.” In the op-ed, the two university presidents expressed their concerns that the Republican tax plan could make it harder for students to earn a degree and could undermine efforts to make higher education more affordable.

“Rather than doling out massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, Senator Rob Portman should focus instead on investing in middle-class Ohioans — and that includes making college more affordable, not more expensive,” said For Ohio’s Future Action Fund spokesperson Daniel van Hoogstraten.

Ohio was recently ranked worst in the nation for student debt.

Last month, graduate students at more than 40 colleges and universities across the country — including students at The Ohio State University — participated in rallies and walk-outs to oppose the Republican tax plan.