Dr. Chris Jones, Democratic nominee for governor of Arkansas, issued a statement in support of tax relief for recipients of student loan forgiveness.
President Joe Biden announced a plan to forgive student loan debt in August, but Arkansas is one of seven U.S. states where the state tax law is unclear on the issue of whether or not this forgiven debt relief is taxable by the state. Arkansas lawmakers will decide on this issue next year.
In a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Jones spoke in support of recent graduates and advocated for the elimination of the tax burden on student debt relief. The newspaper printed a small part of it in this article. Below, you may find the complete statement from the Jones campaign:
Anyone who has heard me speak knows how much I value education. It should come as no surprise that, like many others, I am alarmed at how quickly the student debt has increased, and the fact that our young people are struggling to overcome staggering debt. We know that student loan debt has doubled since 2008, and that the amount of student debt has outpaced even mortgage loans.
What is unacceptable to me is that Arkansas, which has a group of people trying to eliminate income tax completely and just gave an accelerated tax cut, is set to be one of 7 states that is set to give a tax increase to those who are already barely making ends meet. They want to tax what is supposed to be financial relief for people who are not in upper tax brackets.
Our state needs young workers who are not overburdened by debt. For example, our teachers need to go to college in order to do their jobs, but they cannot repay their loans on low Arkansas teacher’s salaries. This only hurts our education system, a system already struggling to keep teachers.
I strongly believe that we should pass legislation that eliminates the tax burden on student debt relief. Anyone who advocates for lower taxes in general, but refuses to remove this tax almost feels like they are playing political theater and being oppositional just because this was an idea proposed and passed largely by Democrats. I value consistency in leadership. I have long said that we need responsible tax systems, and to me, it is irresponsible to tax this debt relief.
I’ve made clear where I stand and how I would act on this issue. I challenge my opponent to do the same.
The same article says that Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment. This troubling response (or lack of response) is common for Sanders, who has failed to show up for Arkansans throughout this campaign – not commenting on the important issues of the day, denying requests for public debates, and going nearly four months without any campaign appearances.