Textbook tax holiday bill to clear air for future bills

Junior Biology major Miles Eckley shops for books at the Lory Student Center bookstore Monday. With the rising cost of tuition and being a student in general, the university is working on a bill that will establish a tax holiday for all Colorado State university bookstores.
Junior Biology major Miles Eckley shops for books at the Lory Student Center bookstore Monday. With the rising cost of tuition and being a student in general, the university is working on a bill that will establish a tax holiday for all Colorado State university bookstores.

The state legislature is likely to vote down a CSU student government-created bill that would lower the cost of textbooks, said their lobbyist Jenn Penn. But she added that all may not be lost.

Penn said it nevertheless sends an important message to legislators: Students need more help.

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But sources still wonder why a bill that was created to help students more easily afford textbooks — which mimics legislation in about 20 other states — remain.

Penn said the vote for or against the bill will have a deeper impact than just giving funding to students.

“This really will be a tough vote for (legislators),” Penn said. “They are parents and have kids in college or who will go to college … they are taking it seriously.”

The house bill was introduced to the finance committee last Thursday, with a final vote to take place next Wednesday. If it is approved in the finance committee, the bill will be sent to the appropriations committee. If it is approved there, it will be sent to the state Senate.

There is only about a 50-50 chance of the bill making it out of the Finance Committee and only a five percent chance of making it out of the Appropriations committee, Penn said.

“It’s a challenging year to present a bill like this,” Penn said. “And we knew that going into it.”

Penn said that because this is one of the first years the state of Colorado will see revenues coming back, legislators are being cautious and especially focusing on returning funding to areas that had previously been cut, rather than adding funding to entirely new areas.

Although higher education has seen cuts, this type of bill may not be what legislators are looking for.

“The fiscal note of the bill turned out to be higher than we had originally anticipated,” said Lindon Belshe, ASCSU director of governmental affairs. “That will be a concern for us going down the road.”

Belshe added that although there were some concerns about the fiscal note — cost to the state of Colorado — of the bill, one legislator thought it wasn’t aggressive enough.

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“One legislator wants to expand it to include a year-round component,” Penn said. “The fiscal note on that would be huge. That, I think, would kill the bill.”

Although there were many suggestions made to amend the bill or expand it, Belshe said the end result will be bigger than whether or not the bill passes.

“Really, we’re trying to fight for more affordable college experience,” Belshe said. “We want this bill to send a message to the legislature about the rising cost of higher education and the unnecessary burdens it places on students.”

ASCSU Beat Reporter Carrie Mobley can be reached at news@collegian.com.