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Making It in San Diego: Bill would help employers aid employees in paying off student loans

Posted: 6:42 PM, Feb 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-08 21:42:17-05
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Congressman Scott Peters is pitching a bipartisan plan to help workers pay off their student loans.

Democratic Rep. Peters and Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis have introduced a bill which would allow employers to make an annual tax-free contribution to employees to go toward student loan debt. Experts say about 70% of current college students will graduate with significant debt, while 25% of all adults are still paying off the loans they took out while still in school.

"Young people are delaying their life decisions like buying a house, also starting a family," Peters told 10News to explain why he introduced the bill. "It's a drag on the economy."

Under current law, employees are taxed on money for student loan repayment their companies offer. Peters' bill would allow those companies to contribute up to $5,250 each year. While the benefit for employees is clear, supporters say there are also advantages for employers. Peters suggests that offering student loan repayment as a benefit can help companies recruit talented new employees who will also have greater loyalty and willingness to stay remain with the company long-term.

Peters tells 10News the bill is quickly picking up co-sponsors from both parties and an identical bi-partisan bill will be introduced in the Senate. Peters says he is more optimistic that the plan will pass with the House now under Democratic control than he was when a similar effort failed in 2017.

While that bill moves through Congress, State Assemblymember Randy Voepel (R-Santee) is also trying to advance the same concept in the California Legislature.