The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, April 05, 2017, Page 14, Image 14

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Bill: Deduct student debt?
By Kristena Hansen
Associated Press
SALEM (AP) — For
roughly 44 million debt-sad-
dled college graduates across
the nation, the federal govern-
ment will whittle down their
taxable incomes by amounts
equal to whatever interest
they paid on their student
loans throughout the year,
capped at $2,500 depending
on income.
But when tax season
comes around again next year,
Oregon might forgive all that
state residents paid toward
student debt within the pre-
vious year — down to every
last penny of interest and
principle, no caps or income
It’s a new proposal
being floated at the Oregon
Legislature, where some
lawmakers characterize it
as an innovative approach
to the nation’s $1.2 trillion-
outstanding student debt
Senate Bill 1034 would
expand the existing federal
interest-only deduction for
both standard and itemized
tax returns to include prin-
cipal, without caps or lim-
its based on income, for the
state’s income taxing pur-
poses. It would apply to any
Oregonian with a federal or
private-sector loan, as well as
their parents, grandparents,
employers or anyone else
who helps out.
The policy could be par-
ticularly helpful for students
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in Oregon, where personal
income taxes are among the
nation’s highest and make
up the biggest chunk of the
state’s revenue stream.
For recent graduates
who entered the workforce
last year carrying an aver-
age $37,000 in debt, it’d be
the difference between, say,
roughly $300 in interest ver-
sus about $4,000 in combined
principal and interest they
could knock off their state
taxable incomes.
The savings would bal-
loon for those attending
schools such as Willamette
University, directly across
the street from the Oregon
Capitol in Salem, where par-
ents like Fritz Garger hope to
help with at least some of the
expenses for his son’s four-
year degree. At Willamette
University, a private school, a
four-year tuition bill can run
to nearly $200,000.
“It would make higher
education that much more
accessible to people who
don’t necessarily have a lot of
money because the interest-
only (deduction) doesn’t seem
like it’s that much of a write-
off,” Garger, a Colorado resi-
dent, said while touring the
campus with his 15-year-old
son, Kosta.
A tax break for college
graduates who are often
strapped for cash could be
an appealing combination
for both sides of the political
But it’ll take a bite out of
state revenues — although
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budget officials haven’t yet
crunched any estimates — a
sensitive topic at a time when
state lawmakers are eyeing
sweeping tax hikes and lay-
offs to close the looming $1.6
billion-budget shortfall come
July 1.
And as a proposal from
just one Republican, Sen.
Chuck Thomsen under-
stood it’d be a tough sell
in the Democratic Oregon
Statehouse. So after two days
of trying to drum up support,
Thomsen turned to the state’s
longest-serving lawmaker,
Democratic Senate President
Peter Courtney, who agreed
to sign on as a co-sponsor.
“I walked into his office
and told him what the bill did
and said we have to do some-
thing for that group because
... in the last 15 years we’ve
just underfunded higher ed,”
said the lawmaker from Hood
Courtney, 73, who rarely
takes up requests to co-
sign legislation, says he
found common ground with
Thomsen because has a “soft
spot” for students.
He says “it’s going to be
a monster” trying to push the
proposal through during a
budget crisis, and understands
some compromises might
have to be made.
for Oregon
Bear cub
picked up by
hiker sent to
BEND (AP) _ Oregon
lawmakers are considering
increasing the funding for a
state grant that funds com-
munity college tuition for
low-income students.
The Bulletin reports that
because more students than
expected took advantage of
the Oregon Promise grant,
there was too little money left
over for the spring term and
students already in the pro-
gram faced smaller checks
that possibly wouldn’t cover
their tuition.
A state Senate bill that
passed Monday adds more
money to the program,
meaning students would get
all of what they expected for
the semester.
The state originally allot-
ted $10 million per fiscal
year for the grant program.
The bill that passed Monday
would add an additional $3.6
million to the fund from the
state general fund.
black bear cub picked up by
an Oregon hiker who said
the cub was not moving and
barely breathing has been
moved to a wildlife center in
OregonLive reports the
3-month-old bear, dubbed
“Elkhorn,” was sent to PAWS
Wildlife Center in Lynnwood,
Washington on Friday.
The Oregon Department
of Fish and Wildlife says the
cub will be able to develop
in the center without being
habituated to humans.
Wildlife officials say it’s
illegal to take wildlife out
of their habitat, but Oregon
State Police have said
Hancock won’t be cited. An
Oregon veterinarian says she
and others treated the cub for
mild pneumonia.
Corey Hancock of Salem,
Oregon found the bear alone
Monday and took the ani-
mal to local wildlife rehab
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” John 11:25
Holy Th ursday, April 13:
Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday, April 14: Stations of the Cross, 3:00 p.m.
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 7:00 p.m.
Holy Saturday, April 15: Easter Vigil, 8:30 p.m.
Easter Sunday, April 16: Mass 10:00 a.m.
Saint Edward the Martyr Roman Catholic Church
123 Trinity Way, Sisters | 541-549-9391 |
After 37 years (Ellen) and 20 years (Karen), it’s time for a
celebration! Join us for appetizers and a no-host bar
Friday, April 14, 4-7 p.m. at The Belfry!
Welcome back, Kathy!
491 E. Main Ave., Sisters