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Students testify on bill set to remove textbook taxes at state level

Izzy+Burgess%2C+a+first-year+political+science+student+at+Colorado+University%2C+testifies+in+front+of+the+Colorado+House+of+Representatives+Finance+Committee+about+HB24-1018+Feb.+8.+The+bill+passed+the+committee+by+way+of+an+8-3+vote+after+nine+CSU+students+testified.++
Collegian | Allie Seibel
Izzy Burgess, a first-year political science student at Colorado University, testifies in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee about HB24-1018 Feb. 8. The bill passed the committee by way of an 8-3 vote after nine CSU students testified.
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  • Madeleine Kamberg, senator for the Adult Learner and Veteran Center with the Associated Students of Colorado State University, testifies on HB-1018 a bill regarding the removal of textbook taxes for college students in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8. The bill passed committee by way of an 8-3 majority after nine students from Colorado State University testified.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Jakye Nunley, Jorja Whyte and Yoseline Rivera testify in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on HB-1018. Rivera spoke about the difficulty to make ends meet in college, and the difference the price of tax makes when purchasing textbooks.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Dr. Derek Newberger, Jakye Nunley, Jorja Whyte and Yoseline Rivera testify in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on HB-1018. Rivera spoke about the difficulty to make ends meet in college, and the difference the price of tax makes when purchasing textbooks.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Michael Stella, Joseph Goodshall and Isabelle Burgess testify on HB24-1018 in front of the finance committee on Feb. 8. Isabelle Burgess, first year political science student, testifies in front of the House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8 about HB24-1018. he bill passed committee by way of an 8-3 majority after nine students from Colorado State University testified.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Isabelle Burgess, first year political science student, testifies in front of the House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8 about HB24-1018. he bill passed committee by way of an 8-3 majority after nine students from Colorado State University testified.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Joseph Goodshall testifies on HB-1018, a bill regarding the removal of textbook taxes for college students in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8. The bill passed committee by way of an 8-3 majority after nine students from Colorado State University testified.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Associated Students of Colorado State University Director of Governmental Affairs Michael Stella testifies on HB-1018, a bill regarding the removal of textbook taxes for college students in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8. The bill passed committee by way of an 8-3 majority after nine students from Colorado State University testified.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
  • Representative Andrew Boesenecker speaks on behalf of HB-1018, a bill that would eliminate taxes on college textbooks to the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on Feb. 8. Boesenecker is the sponsor of the bill, which was testified on by nine Colorado State University students.

    Collegian | Allie Seibel
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Nine Colorado State University students testified in front of the Colorado House of Representatives Finance Committee on HB24-1018 — a bill that, if passed, would eliminate taxes on college textbooks across the state of Colorado.

The bill was presented before the House Finance Committee Feb. 8, the same day as the Associated Students of Colorado State University’s Day at the Capitol event. Encouraged as part of CSU’s thematic Year of Democracy, representatives invited nine CSU students to testify on the bill.

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HB24-1018, “College Textbook Sales Use Tax Exemption,” is sponsored by Rep. Andrew Boesenecker and Sen. Janice Marchman and would eliminate taxes on the sales of textbooks beginning July 1. The bill is seeking $7,392 in expenditures for the project, and representatives qualified it as a low-expense bill in the Feb. 8 session.

Following testimonials from CSU students, the bill passed through the finance committee by way of an 8-3 vote.

Dissenting representatives voiced concerns over competition with local bookstores and how bookstores will identify customers as college students. Amendments were requested from several representatives who agreed with the bill toward clarity of language surrounding competition.

“I am just so pleased and impressed with our students from CSU who came and testified, shared their perspectives and I think ultimately really impacted how the committee felt about the bill,” Boesenecker said following the vote. “So I’m feeling great.”

ASCSU members Michael Stella, director of governmental affairs; Tangia Zheng, deputy director of finance; Joseph Godshall, deputy director of international affairs; Derek Newberger, co-director for graduate affairs; Jakye Nunley, deputy director of health; Jorja Whyte, director of health; Yoseline Rivera, associate senator for El Centro; and Madeleine Kamberg, an associate senator for Adult Learner and Veteran Services as well as first-year political science student Izzy Burgess gave testimonies in front of the 11-person House Finance Committee.

“I think Colorado’s already really progressive as is. And so I think that the biggest part of my message was just to make sure that we were being intentional with the work we’re doing. … Everybody always cites higher education is such a great cause. But what are we doing to show proof of that?” -Jakye Nunley, ASCSU deputy director of health

In his testimony, Nunley noted that in Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia, taxes on textbooks are exempt and that in Florida and Michigan, textbooks sold to grades K-12 are tax exempt.

“I note this to state the importance of recognizing college students as humans,” Nunley said in his testimonial. “The precedent and demand for a cost-efficient college degree is being set in so many states. Don’t let us be the last.”

Following his testimony, Nunley, a first-year business administration student, said the cost of higher education is at the top of his priority list at ASCSU.

“I think Colorado’s already really progressive as is,” Nunley said. “And so I think that the biggest part of my message was just to make sure that we were being intentional with the work we’re doing. … Everybody always cites higher education is such a great cause. But what are we doing to show proof of that?”

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Nunley said it was important that the work on the bill be done in the interest of student’s passions.

“The work is critical, and the work is intentional, and that (is why) we need somebody to focus on this,” Nunley said. “Because if there’s nobody passionate about it, then there’s going to be nothing passionate that’s done about it.”

Zheng, who rehearsed her speech before her testimonial in the foyer of the Colorado Capitol building, said she hoped the representatives remembered the expenses and experience of being a college student.

“This is … such an important bill for all of us,” Zheng said before her testimony. “There’s so many students that have struggles affording tuition, housing, food — just any sort of cost of living on top of paying probably close to $1,000 a year for textbooks, which I think is really hard for (the) majority of students.”

ASCSU has been working with Jennifer Cassell, a lobbyist with Bowditch & Cassell Public Affairs, to represent students on the state level.

“It’s been very exciting to be able to get students engaged and involved in (the) legislative process,” Cassell said. “Essentially, you all are the future. So making sure that you have a place at the table is obviously a goal … of mine in representing you all. But truly, it’s great to know that we have such a good student body that is engaged, that is intelligent, that knows the legislative process, that knows how to be engaged citizens.”

Stella, who has worked closely with Cassell on the testimonial process for HB24-1018, said the bill is the first time ASCSU has brought a bill to the state legislature.

“We know we have a long way to go until we reach the governor’s desk but very excited that we think the testimony was good,” Stella said. “The reaction that the committee had is very telling that they know in Colorado, we underfund higher education, and this is a small step we can take in correcting that.”

After passing through the House Finance Committee, the bill will go to the House Appropriations Committee.

“Making sure that the textbook bill continues on its journey through the legislature to the House, through the Senate and then to the governor (is important to us),” Stella said. “It sounds like there’s interested parties in amending the bill. So we’ll see where that goes; we’ll explore all those avenues. … And just in general, reestablishing that ASCSU and the 33,000 seats we represent (are) a serious playmaker at the state level (with) state policy.”

Reach Allie Seibel at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @allie_seibel_.

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Allie Seibel, Editor in Chief
Allie Seibel is the editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, a role she loves more and more with each day. Previously the news editor and news director of The Collegian, Seibel has a background in news, but she’s excited to branch out and experience every facet of content this and following years. Seibel is a sophomore journalism and media communications major minoring in business administration and legal studies. She is a student in the Honors Program and is also an honors ambassador and honors peer mentor. She also is a satellite imagery writer for the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University. Seibel is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and loves how The Collegian has gotten her acquainted with Fort Collins and CSU. When she’s not writing, reporting or in class, you can always find her with a book, cross-stitching, planning where to travel to next, trying out a new recipe or listening to Taylor Swift. Seibel is incredibly proud of The Collegian’s past and understands the task of safeguarding its future. She’s committed to The Collegian’s brand as an alt-weekly newspaper and will continue to advance its status as a strong online publication while preserving the integrity and tradition of the print paper. Seibel is excited to begin a multi-year relationship with readers at the helm of the paper and cannot wait to see how the paper continues to grow. Through initiatives like the new science desk and letting each individual desk shine, Seibel is committed to furthering The Collegian and Rocky Mountain Student Media over the next few years.

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