Philadelphia City Council is debating a bill proposed by Councilman At-Large David Oh that would give Philadelphia residents an annual $1,500 tax write-off within five years of graduation from a college or university. Participants would be required to have at least $35,000 in student loan debt to be eligible.
The move would work to reduce the growing student debt crisis, which reached $1.5 trillion nationally as of this August, Time magazine reported. Its goal is to encourage more college graduates to move to Philadelphia to take advantage of the program because only Philadelphia residents are eligible for the tax credit, Oh said.
The Editorial Board acknowledges the intentions of the bill and commends City Council for considering this proposal, but we also recognize that student debt is a substantial issue requiring a solution bigger than a tax write-off.
Only students with $35,000 of debt are eligible for the program, so an annual tax credit of $1,500 does little to affect that financial weight.
The Editorial Board urges City Council to revise this proposal to lower the threshold for eligibility and provide more financial aid resources for currently enrolled students to prevent them from debt in the first place.
The student debt crisis is an institutional issue that needs more comprehensive solutions than a small tax write off.