ASWSU supports textbook tax break


A holiday textbook tax reduction resolution was discussed at the ASWSU Senate meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 4.

The ASWSU Senate unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday to reduce sales tax on textbooks purchased at student bookstores.

Democrat State Rep. Marcus Riccelli and Republican Rep. Hans Zeiger are working on a bill that would urge lawmakers to consider implementing a textbook sales tax holiday.

Jansen VanderMeulen, ASWSU director of legislative affairs, believes student government support is vital to Riccelli and Zeiger’s efforts to communicate the need for more affordable textbooks.

“We are already paying the state quite enough,” VanderMeulen said. “It is important to make sure people don’t have high out of pocket expenses.”

The state of Washington’s disinvestment has resulted in rising tuition prices exceeding 100 percent in the last five years, according to statistics presented in Resolution 43-04.

Despite a freeze in tuition, proposed by WSU President Elson S. Floyd, textbook prices continue to be a financial hindrance to some students’ financial success. The senate voiced in the resolution that students should have “easy access to the basic materials they need to succeed academically.”

VanderMeulen said the textbook tax holiday would apply only to student book sellers like the Bookie. would not be an option, he said.

“Every student who bought books at the bookstore would save eight percent, which isn’t a huge amount, but that’s serious money when you’re talking about five or six hundred dollars,” he said. “We’re talking about students having an extra 50-60 bucks in their pocket.”

VanderMeulen said he is optimistic about state legislature’s ability to create the holiday. It is usually a challenge to pass such a bill at the state level, he said.

“The Democratic Party leadership is not fond of tax breaks,” he said. “This is a tax break. It reduces the revenue flowing to the state.”

Although there might be opposition at the 2014 Legislative Regular Session, VanderMeulen believes the bill is of utmost importance.

“This is a symbolic step to show students that they don’t need to bear the entire burden of their education,” he said.

The Bookie would benefit, too, he said.

“The Bookie will probably get a lot more business as well, which means those employees who are working there will have a better time,” he said.

Sen. Jacob Montaño views Resolution 43-04 as a service to WSU students.

“It’s the first time we’re going into a Legislative Session in five years without having a deficit in the budget, so of all times, this is kind of the time for us to pounce on this opportunity to continue to help out students,” Montaño said.

Sen. Aurelio Guevara said it’s time for the state to give students a break.

“Since I do come from a low income family, the prices of books do kind of take a toll on me,” he said. “It all does come out of pocket, of what I make during the summer.”

The Washington State Legislature will convene for Regular Session on Jan. 13, 2014.

The ASWSU Senate passed a second resolution Wednesday to use money from ASWSU’s Bookie Dividend Account to assist in the Filipino American Student Association’s fundraising efforts to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan.