The chances of survival for a proposal to exempt college students from the 8 per cent meal tax appear almost non-existent, State Rep. Vincent J. Piro, the chairman of the Taxation Committee of the Massachussetts State Legislature, said yesterday.
The exemption is an amendment to a larger proposal to cut all meal taxes from 8 to 5 per cent. If passed, the amendment will eliminate the $95 surcharge which Harvard students will pay on pay on next year's term bills.
The Massachussetts Commonwealth will lose an estimated $16 million if all college students are exempted from the tax, and if the entire proposal to decrease the tax is passed the state will lose $51 million in revenue.
This revenue will be replaced by charging a 5 per cent sales tax on all clothing purchases over $100.
Piro said that no individual legislators want to vote for a clothing tax "because it would affect everyone in their constituency." The clothing tax will place the burden on all taxpayers rather than just on a small minority of voters, he said.
Piro said the committee might consider an amendment that would lower all meal taxes including those paid by students to 5 per cent. If this plan were implemented, students would only have to pay a surcharge of about $60.
James A. True, a representative for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachussetts (AICUM), told the taxation committee that the ability of Massachusetts to attract students could be weakened by this taxation.
Piro said, "People want to come to Massachussetts for school regardless of cost. These people are paying up to $6000 a year and they're complaining about an extra $50?