TOPEKA — Kansas Democrats are following in the footsteps of President Joe Biden by announcing a post-secondary education affordability plan Thursday.
Members of the House Democrats proposed a three-pronged package to reduce the costs of secondary education development opportunities. The package contains benefits for stakeholders at all levels: students, parents, employers and the State of Kansas.
The package, which will be presented to lawmakers for consideration in January, proposes:
- a $150 tax refund to parents of school-aged children for school supplies, books and tuition;
- an extension of the deadline for contributing to Kansas Learning Quest 529 college savings accounts until April 15 of the following year;
- And a tax credit for Kansas businesses allowing them to make certain student loan repayments on behalf of employees.
The announcement comes after President Biden announced a student loan forgiveness plan on Wednesday, which will forgive $10,000 of debt for those earning less than $125,000 a year.
The president‘s decision could have a major impact on the midterm elections, possibly increasing turnout among young voters with unpaid student loan debt.
Republican lawmakers, however, criticized Biden for his decision.
In an interview with the Kansas Capitol Office on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said the student loan forgiveness plan would likely be challenged in court.
“I don’t think Congress gave President Biden that authority to do that…to write off loans,” Marshall said. “I think it’s going to be very insulting to a lot of hard-working Americans.”
Marshall said he thought the plan was “unfair” to those who chose not to take out loans or borrow money and had to work multiple jobs at once to pay for their education.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt, who will face Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in November, also spoke. Schmidt posted the following message online after Biden’s announcement:
“The party of Joe Biden and Laura Kelly today laid out its plan for YOU, the hard-working taxpayer, to pay off $300 billion in student loans from other people. So shameful to buy votes like this – and so unfair to families and students who have paid their own way, like joining the military to pay for their education. Plus, they want 87,000 new taxpayer-funded IRS agents to audit you. They just don’t get it – Kansas families are struggling and the government keeps spending more and more.