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In preface to our vote recommendation comments, we would like to acknowledge our agreement with the bill author that excessive student debt is a major and growing problem. We support a number of legislative initiatives to curb the problem on the front end by making higher education more affordable and ensuring that students are better educated on the negative consequences of taking on too much debt in the first place. While we do not support the particular mechanism proposed by this legislation, we do agree that the legislature has a legitimate role in tackling the problem.
We understand that this relates to a federal loan forgiveness program that already exists and which certain public employees may be eligible for. We oppose this legislation because in our view it is not the appropriate role of government to encourage its employees to seek out student loan forgiveness which is a misnomer in the first place; it is not forgiveness, it is a taxpayer subsidy. This subsidy, in part, takes tax money from those who have worked hard to pay off their own student loans to pay off the loans of others. It is not the proper role of the state to advise employees on potential federal benefits. We oppose HB 2750.
If this bill were amended to make it applicable only to state agencies, we would support the amendment for limiting the scope of the bill.
If this bill were amended to make it permissive rather than mandatory, we would withdraw our objection entirely.