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Ryan Opening Statement: Strengthening 529 College Savings Plans and Making Permanent Important Tax Provisions

February 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement during the committee markup of a series of bills to strengthen 529 college savings plans and make permanent important tax provisions.

“So, were working on three bills today. And the point of all three is to make peoples lives easier. Its to give them more certainty about the future. All three deal with the tax code. Theres the state and local sales-tax deduction, and theres the R&D credit. Wed make both of these permanent. That would let businesses and families plan for the future—without any fear of expirations or extensions or what have you.
“But I want to single out one bill for special attention. And thats the one offered by Congresswoman Jenkins. This bill would expand the use of 529 college savings plans. These are great tools families use to save for college. They reward people for investing in our kids future. And they deserve our full support.
“Now, what this bill would do is bring the law up to date with reality. Wed let families use their plans to pay for equipment like computers and software. These things arent nice-to-haves anymore; theyre must-haves. And wed give families more flexibility to deal with things like college refunds and account withdrawals. The point of all this, as I said, is to give people more control over the future.
“And I have to admit: I was dismayed when the President proposed we tax these plans. I know the President dropped his proposal. But its not just the policy thats the problem; its the principle. He wanted to tax these plans so he could create another government program. He wanted to make saving for college more expensive. We want to strengthen and expand these important tools so that a college education is closer in reach for American families.
“So I want to thank Congresswoman Jenkins and Congressman Brady for their work on these bills. And I want to thank all of our members for all their hard work. Thank you.”