Students, professors and community members rally against the federal tax plan

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Wednesday was 'Grad Tax Walk-Out Day' which meant about 50 of universities across the country protested the Federal Tax Plan.
Students used this time to express the concerns they are facing specifically as grad students.

"Your education matters. We matter," says Alisha Mays, WKU Sociology graduate student.

WKU is also taking initiative like 50 others in protests that swept the nation today.

"I'm here tonight telling you that this is a big deal and that I'm speaking my voice," says Mays.

Many are concerned with the GOP's tax plan.

"It's going to give tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and we don't think that that's okay. Students and workers should not be the people who bare the burden," says Alexa Hatcher, the event coordinator and undergrad student.

The bill would tax tuition waivers many graduate students receive for working as teachers or researchers at the schools they're attending.

"We are the people that are most hurt by this. I am hurt because I know several other grad students just like me," says Mays.

Currently students are not taxed on the waived tuition, but are taxed on the additional stipend they receive.

"Our taxes as students could double and up to eight times the taxes," says Hatcher.

"They're going to tax our tuition waivers much more, we're gonna lose up to 30% which means we won't be able to pay for tuition let alone eat, and therefore probably have to drop out," says Joel Chapman, graduate student at WKU.

Many even began calling their senators right then and there at the protest to express their concern.

"You gotta call your senators. You gotta call your local representatives and you have to tell them who you are, where you're from, that you're a voter," says Chapman.

Many said they're uncertain about their fate in higher education.

"It's a two year program. I'm already one-fourth of the way through and if this passes, basically I'm just gonna have to call it quits," explains Chapman.

While the protesters were demonstrating, the Senate voted on party lines, 52-to-48 to allow the bill to move forward to a showdown vote by the end of the week.​



 
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