SGA objects taxation of Greek houses

Greek life has received new support from SGA in their efforts to remain tax exempt.

SGA passed a resolution Feb. 16 in support of bill H725, which will allow Greek housing to be tax exempt, SGA President Jason Maulucci said.

As such, he said he will be joining members of Greek life in Montpelier Feb. 23 to lobby in support of the bill.

In passing this resolution, SGA is backing a huge portion of their constituency, not only in Greek life, but the student body as a whole, Maulucci said.

“I believe that [the property tax] is not just a Greek issue, it is a UVM issue and a community issue,” he said.

Greek houses would have to pay an additional $225,000 each year in property taxes if H725 is not passed, according to the resolution.

Sophomore Lachlan Francis and junior Niki Brown, both SGA members, introduced the resolution.

“I’m supporting H725 be- cause I think removing [Greek life’s] tax exemption is a classic example of a solution looking for a problem,” Francis said.

Additionally, “forcing,” students out of Greek housing would add to the strained Burlington housing markets, he said.

Greek life at UVM is “thankful,” and “looking forward to working with SGA,” said president of the UVM’s panhellenic association, senior Jenna Nash.

“I’m very happy that the SGA was able to support us by unanimously passing a resolution supporting this bill that will allow us to maintain affordable housing,” said August Siebs, the president of the Interfraternity Council at UVM.

The bill was introduced in January 2016 after Chittenden County Rep. Barbara Rachelson saw the activism from members of the UVM community, she said.

The tax has been a possibility for years, Director of Student Life Patrick Brown said.

Student Life has worked alongside students and alumni to address the issue over the years, Brown said.

“SGA, as a student advocacy organization, studied the issue and responded appropriately within their role of student advocacy,” he said.