OFFER DIRECT DEBT REPAYMENT
With so many college tuition debt elimination plans flying around from residential hopefuls, I thought I’d throw my two cents into the discussion. Please note, I have no desire to run for office nor do I offer my two cents to pay another’s voluntary debt.
With college debt at nearly $1.5 trillion and mounting, I think the left side of the aisle has a valid speaking point for 2020, and the best solution may be a vote influencer for many.
College debt anxiety affects not only recent college graduates, but nearly 20 percent of all college debt is held by the older millennials and the Gen X population. I don’t think simply “erasing” a voluntary obligation, as offered by many in Washington, is the answer, though.
If Congress really wants to support and offer a solution to those laden with college debt, then allow businesses to pay off student debt as an expense item. This approach is no different than paying for ongoing training, utilities or supply expenses. This would allow businesses to reduce income (and the associated taxes) and payroll taxes associated with a traditional employee pay increase or bonus. Additionally, the employee is not burdened with the added income tax exposure.
Offering the incentive of direct debt repayment to student lenders would be a massive benefit to many employees. As an employer of approximately 20 young college graduates (most of whom carry college debt), I would relish the opportunity to use direct debt repayment as a retention and recruiting tool for my small business.
Obvious stipulations would need to be put in place, such as annual benefit caps per employee, secondary education accreditation requirements, graduation requirements, etc. There are holes in my thinking, I’m sure, but it takes the power and control of paying down college debt away from those willing to simply “erase” it.
What will they conveniently “erase” next? Terrible idea.
Allowing businesses to compete for employees with the added incentive of direct college debt repayment while reducing tax exposure would be beneficial to businesses, employees and certainly the lenders. Maybe someone in Latta or Portman’s office will get a whiff of this and take it the rest of the way.
WE NEED TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE
I had written a letter to The Courier (Viewpoint, June 6) about how climate change will negatively impact northwest Ohio. I appreciate Ralph Mullinger’s response to my letter, but respectfully disagree. He states that: 1) wind and solar power are more expensive than fossil fuels and 2) climate forecasting is unreliable.
The cost of wind and solar energy continues to fall and likely will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels (see, for example, a report by Bloomberg: https://bnef.turtl.co/story/neo2018?teaser=true ).
Also, by increasing global warming, coal and other fossil fuels have a price much greater than what appears on our utility bills. When a changing climate makes it impossible for farmers to plant their fields, we all pay.
Regarding climate forecasts: The International Panel on Climate Change has brought tremendous expertise to understanding the climate issue. Scientific consensus is that the earth will continue to warm — and that we are seeing the consequences of climate change already.
Americans can solve this problem. But we need to take action that looks to the future. HB 6, currently under consideration, prioritizes coal and harms renewable energy. It’s exactly the wrong direction.