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New York City to Amazon: drop dead

Rallying across the street from the Long Island City site where Amazon’s new campus is set to rise, opponents called the plan – which will give Amazon nearly $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies from state and city – a ripoff to taxpayers that will stress the neighborhood’s infrastructure while doing little to help local residents.

Lawmakers will never get the chance to vote on the plan, since the state is routing it through an economic development agency controlled by the governor, avoiding city council approval on zoning changes that would normally be required.

On Wednesday, residents at the nearby Queensbridge Houses – the largest public housing project in the US – complained of heat outages, officials said.

“Today is a great day to be a real-estate broker in Long Island City,” said Jonathan Westin, head of New York Communities for Change. “Today is a horrible day to be a tenant struggling to make rent.”

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The GOP Tax Plan Will Destroy Graduate Education

“Despite earning $23,000/year, you’d pay taxes on $40,520 or $57,914 at a public University, and despite earning $32,500, you’d pay taxes on $81,440 at a private University. For this last figure, this would result in a higher tax rate than anyone else in the nation pays. These numbers represent increases in taxes of $2,628, $6,193, and $10,650, respectively, on these hypothetical graduate students.”

The way that graduate school works for most of the 3 million Americans currently enrolled is that they work as either a teaching or research assistant, get a tuition waiver, and support themselves with a small stipend. Earn $23,000/year, and you pay taxes on $23,000/year. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s fair. The tuition waiver, on the other hand, is money that the University pays directly to itself; it’s money that you never see. At some Universities, the tuition waiver is valued at up to $50,000. And one of the biggest changes to the tax code under the new GOP proposal is that all of a sudden, your tuition waiver would be treated as taxable income. For a 1st-year student at University of Florida, your tax burden would jump from 6.2% to 33.1%; for a student at Princeton University, your tax burden would change from 8.8% to 41.9%. In other words, graduate students would become the most heavily-taxed group of Americans of all.

Is it an intentional part of the GOP tax plan to destroy graduate education? I don’t have the answer to that, but if you have any interest in higher education, you’ll want to know about this for sure.

Sales of recreational marijuana have blown past expectations in Nevada, threatening to leave some dispensaries with empty shelves. After Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed a statement of emergency in the first week of legal sales, regulators are looking to bolster the supply chain.

The Nevada Tax Commission is meeting Thursday to determine whether the state has enough wholesale marijuana distributors; it could also adopt emergency regulations.

Marijuana Shortage Prompts Emergency In Nevada; Tax Officials Weigh Changes

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images