May 11,2006

Response to Partisan Attacks on the Tax Bill, Claims of Abandoning College Tuition Deduction, Etc.


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Response to partisan attacks on the tax bill
Da: Thursday, May 11, 2006

Two Democratic members of the Finance Committee are holding a news conference to criticize
Republican tax conferees for “deleting the college tuition tax deduction from the final tax
reconciliation bill in favor of $5 billion worth of tax breaks for big oil companies.” Sen. Chuck
Grassley, chairman of the Finance Committee, and chairman of the House-Senate conference on the
tax bill, made the following comment on these attacks.

“This is political manipulation of the facts at its worst. People hear what they want to hear and
believe what they want to believe. Here are the facts. No one is abandoning the extension of the
college tuition tax deduction. I’ve said many times, and I’ll say again – the extension of the college
tuition tax deduction will go in a second tax bill that will be finalized and voted on as soon as
possible. Chairman Thomas and I have a clear understanding that the second tax bill will contain an
extension of the college tuition tax deduction and an extension of other popular provisions, including
the research and development tax credit and the tax break for teachers buying supplies for their
classrooms. It’s ridiculous to claim that I’d abandon the college tuition deduction. I’m responsible
for that deduction. I developed it and included it in the 2001 tax relief bill my Finance Committee
passed a few months after I became chairman. The deduction became law. That was one of eight
education provisions that became law in the 2001 tax bill.

“On the claim that Republicans are interested only in tax cuts for the rich, remember, the same 2001
law created the new 10 percent tax rate for income that had been taxed at 15 percent. That’s of great
value to low-income taxpayers. The new 10 percent tax rate cost $421 billion over 10 years. The
college tuition deduction alone cost $9.9 billion over three years. It’s meant to help low- and middleincome
families afford college for their kids. All of these facts are in black and white on the nonpartisan
Joint Committee on Taxation’s website. Five minutes of research is all it takes to get the
facts. The senators who think we’re abandoning the extension of the college tuition deduction can
rest easy. They’ll have the chance to vote on it very soon.

“On the criticism that Republicans are giving ‘$5 billion worth of tax breaks for big oil companies’
– that’s just completely, factually wrong. The oil companies aren’t getting a $5 billion tax break. The
tax reconciliation bill takes away the oil companies’ tax break for geological and geophysical costs.
They have been spared at this time a $4.3 billion tax increase because we decided not to repeal the
last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting change for oil companies. We stepped back to take a
comprehensive look at LIFO – which industries use it, to what extent, and whether it should be
repealed for every industry. I intend to hold a Finance Committee hearing on LIFO in the coming
months. In sum, senators have the right to criticize the tax bill. All I ask is that they’re intellectually
honest about it.”