Graduate Students Hold Sit-In At Susan Collins’ Bangor Office Over Tax Cut Proposal

Dec 14, 2017

Even as Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate ironed out details in the party’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package on Thursday, demonstrators continued their national assault against the measure they say is nothing more than a giveaway to the super-wealthy.

In Bangor, more than a dozen UMaine grad students occupied U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office to protest a House component of the bill that would eliminate some tax benefits for graduate students.

“This tax plan does not help people in our income brackets, and we’d like to see our representatives in the Senate take a little bit more time and really do their due diligence crafting up a bit that’s going to work for all maine people,” says Sonja Birthisel, a UMaine grad student from Cumberland.

“I’m here today at Sen. Collins’ office because I completely disagree with this tax bill,” says Francesca Gundrum, a UMaine graduate student from Albany, N.Y. “It hurts me as a graduate student and it hurts so many others, the majority of middle-class Americans, and it’s not right. And we need to do something about it.”

A Collins spokewoman said the senator has not yet decided whether she will vote for the final version of the bill. Collins said she welcomed the concerns raised by the UMaine students as well as those expressed by other constituents.

The Associated Press is reporting that congressional aides say the tax bill bill will no longer start taxing graduate-school tuition waivers.