Dissecting the Senate's approval of new tax bill

By Ryan Chichester

The U.S. Senate passed a new tax bill in the dead of night on Friday evening into Saturday morning, creating the largest changes to the country's tax code in three decades.

The bill is 479 pages long and was distributed to senators around 7 p.m. on Friday. It was passed with 51 votes just before 2 a.m. on Saturday, leaving little time for senators to rummage through the proposals in changes before the deadline. No democrats voted to pass the bill.

The major change with the new tax bill is the deduction of tax rates for businesses and corporations, which will go into effect in 2019. The tax rate for big businesses will drop from 35 to 20 percent, and those companies will also be able to write off most of their investments for the next five years.

Tax rates for millionaires will also see a decrease from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent. Most Americans making between $500,000 to $1 million annually will enjoy the new bill, as 91 percent of that group will get a tax cut of at least $100 in 2019. However, only 46 percent of Americans who make between $20,000 and $30,000 a year will see such a cut. 

Americans who may not like the bill changes could be students at Quinnipiac and beyond, as the House bill eliminates student debt write-offs. This forces graduate students whose tuition bills are waived due to working for professors or for their school to include that waived money as taxed income. In short, graduate student assistants will be taxed on their tuition money that is going directly to the school because of their services while seeking their advanced degrees. Universities fear these changes could deter students from seeking graduate study programs. 

Among other effects of the bill is an increase in the American debt. The national debt of roughly $20 trillion will likely increase by another trillion due to the bill, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Ryan Chichester