May 28, 2019

State Senate Passes Student Loan Debt Relief Legislation

HARTFORD – This evening, the state Senate passed Senate Bill No. 72, a bill that would make Connecticut more affordable for recent college graduates and the companies who hire them. The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan 27-8 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

State Senator Alex Bergstein (D-Greenwich), Senate Chair of the Banking Committee, originally introduced this bill. The amended bill approved in the Senate today is the product of a collaboration between Sen. Bergstein and State Senators Will Haskell (D-Westport) and James Maroney (D-Milford). It creates a tremendous opportunity for Connecticut to retain and attract talented, young college graduates.

Senate Bill No. 72, “An Act Establishing a Tax Credit for Employers That Make Payments on Loans Issued to Certain Employees by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority,” creates a tax credit for employers who make payments on the student loans of qualified employees.

Individuals can receive relief if they are state residents, graduated in the last five years, and refinanced their college loans through CHESLA. Employers who make payments directly on the behalf of their employees can receive a 50 percent tax credit on those payments. Employers cannot claim credits for more than five taxable years per employee or for loan payments greater than what an employee owes in a year.

“This bill will recruit and retain young people in Connecticut. It will help build the type of talented workforce that generates more revenue for our state and builds a thriving economy,” said Sen. Bergstein. “When students work in Connecticut after graduating from our excellent academic institutions, they are more likely to put down roots, buy a home, and pay taxes. This bill is pro-business and pro-growth and sends a strong signal that we want our students to stay.”

In public testimony, the Connecticut Realtors supported the legislation, noting first-time home buyers are delayed, on average, by seven years due to student loan debt.

“CTR believes that Connecticut has the opportunity this session to establish our state as a leader in addressing the student debt crisis,” Connecticut Realtors testified.