April 23, 2020
Dear Leader McConnell & Leader McCarthy:
As Congress works toward future legislation to mitigate the damage caused by COVID-19, we urge you to expand 529 education savings accounts so that they can be used for expenses related to learning from home.
Because of the Coronavirus threat, Americans have been forced into self-isolation and schools have been shut down. Tens of millions of students are forced to learn from home, a situation that has led to additional costs stemming from the need to implement online and distance learning. These new costs are exacerbated by the financial hardships that Americans are experiencing across the country due to a lost job, or reduction in work hours.
Congress can help families with these new expenses by expanding 529 education savings accounts to cover expenses incurred from learning from home. These expenses can include curriculum and curricular materials, books or other instructional materials, online educational materials, tuition for tutoring or educational classes outside of the home, and educational therapies for students with disabilities.
529s are already a proven way for families to meet education expenses. These tax advantaged savings accounts allow parents to save and invest after-tax income for education costs. These accounts can currently be used to cover the cost of college and K-12 expenses including tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment, and computers.
In addition, these accounts offer significant tax reduction. Any money earned in an account can be invested tax free and funds can be withdrawn for qualified expenses tax free. Although contributions are not federally deductible, over 30 states offer a full or partial tax deduction for 529 contributions.
Because of these benefits, 529s are extremely popular amongst middle class American families. Today, there are over 14 million 529 accounts.
There is also support for this proposal in Congress. Congressman Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) recently led a letter signed by 13 lawmakers urging House and Senate leadership to support allowing 529s to be used for home learning expenses.
As you continue working on proposals to address the damage caused by COVID-19, we urge you to support this request. Expanding 529s should be part of the solution to helping Americans get through the pandemic by providing assistance to students and families across the country.
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
Ryan Ellis, President, Center for a Free Economy
Jim Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President, 60 Plus Association
Mead Treadwell, Former Lt. Governor, State of Alaska Chair, Alaska Center-Right Meeting
Marty Connors, Alabama Center-Right Coalition Leader
Lisa B. Nelson, CEO, ALEC Action
John Schilling, President, American Federation for Children
Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity
Kevin Waterman, Chair, Annapolis Center-Right Coalition Meeting
Jeffrey Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom
Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
Olivia Grady, Senior Fellow, Center for Worker Freedom
Chuck Muth, President, Citizen Outreach (Nevada)
Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Timothy Head, Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition
Rick Watson, Chairman, Florida Center/Right Coalition
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks
Patrick Jones, Executive Director, Free California
Annette Meeks, CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
Victor Riches, President & CEO, Goldwater Institute
James Taylor, President, The Heartland Institute
Jessica Anderson, Executive Director, Heritage Action
Carrie Lukas, President, Independent Women’s Forum
Heather Higgins, CEO, Independent Women’s Voice
Chris Ingstad, President, Iowans for Tax Relief
Bill Mattox, Policy Director, Marshall Center for Educational Options, The James Madison Institute
Seton Motley, President, Less Government
Tim Jones, Chair, Missouri Center-Right Coalition, Fmr. Speaker, Missouri House
Ben DeGrow, Director of Education Policy, Mackinac Center
Jameson Taylor, Ph.D., Vice President for Policy, Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union
The Honorable BIll O’Brien, Co-chair, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition
Bette Grande, CEO & President, Roughrider Policy Center
Representative Niraj J. Antani, District 42, Ohio House of Representatives
Brandon Dutcher, Senior Vice President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Daniel J. Erspamer, CEO, Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Mike Stenhouse, CEO, Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity
Paul Gessing, President, Rio Grande Foundation
Jim Bender, President, School Choice Wisconsin
Rick Larsen, President, Sutherland Institute
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Maureen Blum, USA Workforce Coalition,#EDTaxCredit50 Coalition
CJ Szafir, Executive Vice President, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty