101 petitions

Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Patricia J. Gumport

Demand that Stanford Protect Graduate Education

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, the House of Representatives introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Act introduces a number of changes that may affect graduate students, including treating tuition as taxable income, and eliminating or reducing deductions for student loans and other tuition scholarships. It also directly affects Stanford and other universities by taxing university endowments.  These changes threaten to make graduate education unaffordable. By counting tuition waivers as income, the new bill will tax the average Stanford graduate student on over $45,000 dollars of extra “income” per year. As a result, we will be taxed at a higher rate – preliminary estimates suggest that taxes can increase anywhere from 200% to 400%, depending on our specific funding packages. Graduate programs at Stanford remit many students’ tuition costs in exchange for wages as teaching assistants (TA) or research assistants (RA), along with a modest stipend. While this stipend reaches us, the tuition fees do not: they are transferred from the University to our respective Departments. In effect, the University transfers this money from one pocket to another. Under the new tax proposal, graduate students stand to be taxed for “income” that never reaches them. This bill can affect graduates students regardless of citizenship status; as long as a student pays taxes to the US government, they will be impacted. This bill will affect anyone with student loans by eliminating student loan interest deductions (currently at $2,500/yr). Moreover, while the Senate version of the bill would not affect graduate student tuition or student loan deductions, it would tax the University’s endowment. We fully expect these provisions to have long-term adverse effects on the University community as a whole. Patricia J. Gumport, the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, notified students in an email on November 8 that the “tax proposal has the highest priority attention from Stanford’s leaders and we are advocating actively against these provisions.” While we appreciate the University's statement, it does not provide any concrete information about how exactly students may be affected by the proposed changes, what Stanford is doing to protect graduate students, or how the University will respond if the proposed changes are passed. As students, teachers, and researchers, graduate students need more information about how their jobs and livelihoods may be affected, as well as an active voice in discussions that may affect our ability to contribute to the University. We therefore call upon the University to: Provide concrete information on (a) how graduate students on various financial packages may be affected by the proposed changes, with specific estimates and figures; and (b) what actions Stanford is taking to ensure that the tuition tax exemption and student loan interest deduction are preserved. We also want to know what specifically Stanford is doing in partnership with the peer universities and higher education associations that Vice Provost Gumport named in her recent email.  Explain how Stanford will protect graduate students’ take-home pay if the tax deduction is eliminated. Specifically, we want Stanford to guarantee that it will adjust either our tuition or our financial packages to offset any changes in our federal taxes.  Hold a Town Hall meeting for graduate students with President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Vice Provost Gumport, and all other relevant personnel to discuss the tax plan and its implications for graduate students, as well as the continued financial viability of graduate education at Stanford. We, the undersigned, ask the University to respond to these demands by December 1, 2017. Congress plans to vote on a tax reform bill as early as Thanksgiving. We hope that the University will collaborate with us on this pressing issue and continue to fulfill its responsibilities to the graduate community. [Note: Please include your department, affiliation, and year of graduation (actual or anticipated) when you sign. For example: Jane Nguyen, PhD, English, 2018.] 

Stanford Solidarity Network
1,307 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Steve Stivers, Joyce Beatty, Michael Turner, Dave Joyce, Pat Tiberi, Marcia Fudge, Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman, Steve Chabot, Brad Wenstrup, Jim Jordan, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Warren Davidson, Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan, Jim Renacci

Stop Congressional Tax Cuts for the Wealthy that Hurt Ohio

Congressional leaders are moving quickly on a tax cut proposal that will cost our communities more than a trillion dollars to pay for a tax cut for the wealthy. This will mean less to invest in our schools, affordable college, and addressing issues like poverty and opiate addiction. It is a tax cut for the wealthy.Nearly half of the value of these tax cuts will flow to the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers. As we struggle with poverty, income inequality, and other serious issues in Ohio, this is not the time to cut taxes. Instead this is a time for Congressional leaders to invest in addressing the opiate epidemic, high cost of college, and aging infrastructure.Ohio needs investments – not cuts - in vital programs and services.To create jobs, increase wages, and solve problems like poverty, we need to invest in our communities and not cut vital services. Investments into education, broadband, roads, bridges, and healthcare increase opportunities and the quality of life for everyone compared to these tax cuts that will only benefit the wealthy. We have tried this ‘tax cuts for prosperity strategy’ before here in Ohio and nationally, and it didn’t work. There is no reason to believe that it will work now. Research shows that investments in education, clean water and safe roads, and strong communities are the foundation needed for good jobs and strong economy. If you are with us, sign to help get Ohio and the country moving in toward a sustainable future where everyone will have a fair shot.

One Ohio Now
72 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

Dogs need your help! Tell Congress to stop cruel taxpayer-funded experiments.

An investigation by the White Coat Waste Project revealed that more than 1,100 beagles, hounds and mixed-breed dogs—even puppies—are subjected to secretive, wasteful and cruel experiments inside government laboratories each year. As a physician, researcher and dog-lover –and someone who once reluctantly experimented on dogs—I know there’s no way to defend the government’s use of dogs for invasive and unnecessary experiments.  It’s also a betrayal of a 10,000 year old bond between dogs and humans built upon mutual affection and loyalty. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other major news outlets have been documenting how the Department of Veterans Affairs, Pentagon, National Institutes of Health, and other agencies spend taxpayers’ money to abuse dogs: Death by Sand Flies: Infected sand flies are strapped to beagles’ bare skin, causing painful ulcers. Forced Vomiting: Dogs are cut open, their nerves severed, and electrodes are implanted on their intestines. They're then forced to vomit repeatedly. Forced Heart Attacks: "Snares" are tightened around dogs’ coronary arteries to induce heart attacks before they're killed and dissected. American taxpayers are forced to pay millions of dollars for these studies with virtually no access to information about what’s being done or why and how much it costs. Is this how you want your money spent? Please sign our petition to end wasteful spending and increase transparency and accountability about taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs! Most agencies including the VA, DOD, FDA and CDC do not reveal details of how our taxpayer dollars are being used for experiments on dogs, but on one of the few projects for which spending data is available, NIH experimenters have used nearly $6 million of taxpayers' money since 2011 to give dogs heart attacks. Bipartisan Members of Congress also recognize the ethical, scientific and economic problems with these controversial experiments on dogs. They’re now working to help spare dogs from abuse and cut wasteful government spending. Please join us and encourage Members of Congress and the incoming administration to end this wasteful government spending on flawed research.

Dr. Larry Hansen and the White Coat Waste Project
184,084 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Natasha Wilkinson - Attorney on Behalf of petitioners : South Affrican National Treasury

South African petition against change to foreign employment income earned tax laws.

Draft of Bill on proposed repeal of the South African tax law ,exemption on income tax from  foreign employment income - Section  10(1)(o)(ii) Act, No 58 of 1962  ,on South Africans working abroad will have serious unintended consequences, both for South Africans working abroad, as well as on their contribution to the South African economy. We seek to petition National Treasury, both from policy as well as legislative drafting perspectives, that any law change should be undertaken with caution and on a properly informed basis. By seeking to understand any policy changes underpinning this proposed tax law amendment, we wish to actively engage with the National Treasury. This tax will  have a direct impact on any South African working in a tax-free location, including UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Brunei and those working in all countries where lower taxes are paid in comparison to South African tax scales. Furthermore, the adversely affected will include international airline pilots and related trades, where they are based outside South Africa in a foreign location but do not pay taxes in their host countries due to services performed outside the host country, offshore workers such as oil rig workers, engineers and other highly specialized skilled workers working on special tax-free designated construction projects or well-fare projects, seafarers, workers on passenger vehicles and any other trade where income tax is not legally paid on their employment services in the host country. The petition letter can be read below and will be formally submitted to National Treasury.      

Barry Pretorius
12,949 supporters