Rhode Island Taxing College Students
Everyone knows that college is expensive. You have to pay for books, room and board, transportation, food, and of course classes. Then, when you consider that most college students are not working full time and therefore are not raking in the dough, it’s understandable why college students are, stereotypically, always broke. So then, why is the mayor of Providence trying to tax college students in an effort to pay off the city’s $17 million deficit?
Mayor David Cicilline of Providence wants to impose a $150 tax each semester on students at Brown University, Providence College, Johnson and Wales University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Cicilline says these students use the cities ammenities, such as police and fireman services, and should have to pay for these services. The new tax would raise as much as $8 million in the next year. If enacted, this would be the first time a city has ever taxed students just for being enrolled.
“It’s really about a shared commitment to the well-being of your community that you’re a part of,” said Cicilline. “Everyone should be doing their part and coming to the table.”
Heather Lee, president of the Brown Graduate Student Council, believes students should not have to pay a $300 tax when they enroll. “We want to support the city as best we can, but financially is not really what we can afford to give. We’re more able to provide labor, we’re more able to apply the things that we’re learning in the classroom, than we are to write a $300 check.”
Personally, I have to agree with Lee. If the mayor wants everyone to “do their part and come to the table,” he should also take into consideration the financial limitations many students face. If the students want to contribute to the community in some other way, that should be allowed as a substitute for the $300 tax.
Via Google News