New York State now taxes tuition...

Aaron Marshall

Endeavors Editor

I don't want to be Captain Obvious, but New York State is in the midst of a nasty financial crisis. Of are probably all too aware. But did you know that New York State has recently placed a tax on tuition? Yep, we now have the dubious distinction of being the only state in the nation that TAXES college tuition. That's right, taxes tuition.

Let's start with recent history...

Recently, it became obvious that SUNY's four-year campuses would incur a collective $210 million decrease in state support (a 14% cut--the largest percentage cut in the entire state budget). To offset about one-third of this cut, the SUNY Board of Trustees raised in-state undergraduate tuition by $310 at mid-year. The board was concerned students would not have access to the classes they need, and so directed campuses to use the new tuition dollars to ensure continued access to instruction.

Enter the Governor and State Legislature...

Back in early February, in what can only be described as a breach of public trust, the state legislature accepted Governor Paterson's proposal to sweep 90% of the tuition increase into the state's coffers. No other state in the nation has ever placed a tax on tuition, but New York just did. Of the additional $310 in tuition students paid for the spring semester, only $31 went for education expenses, while $279 went into the state coffers-the equivalent of a 900% sales tax! And for graduate and out-of-state students the tax was even higher.

So we are powerless, right?

'Arguably so' says the pessimist in me. However, the fact of the matter is that we are not powerless. If we take action our voices can be heard. I urge you to take the time to write or call your state legislator or the governor. Let them know this is an unfair tax.