Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 210675
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File Number: 210675 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-314-21 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Introduced: 3/18/2021
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 5/4/2021
Agenda Date: 5/4/2021 Agenda Item Number: 11A12
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR OR COUNTY MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO (1) DEVELOP A PLAN TO IMPLEMENT A STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM UNDER INTERNAL REVENUE CODE SECTION 127 (26 U.S.C. § 127) FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES WITH AT LEAST 10 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS, FULL-TIME COUNTY EMPLOYMENT; (2) IDENTIFY LEGALLY AVAILABLE FUNDING SOURCES FROM WITHIN THE FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 COUNTY BUDGET FOR THIS PROGRAM SHOULD IMPLEMENTATION OCCUR WITHIN THIS FISCAL YEAR; (3) INCLUDE THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IN THE MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEARS 2021-2022 THROUGH 2025-2026; (4) PROVIDE A REPORT WITHIN A SPECIFIED TIME ON THE COST OF THE PROGRAM, AND A RECOMMENDATION FOR HOW THE PROGRAM WILL BE FUNDED AND IMPLEMENTED
Indexes: LOAN
  PAYMENT
  STUDENTS
Sponsors: Kionne L. McGhee, Prime Sponsor
  Danielle Cohen Higgins, Co-Sponsor
  Oliver G. Gilbert, III, Co-Sponsor
  Raquel A. Regalado, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 5/4/2021 11A12 Adopted P

Public Housing and Community Services Committee 4/15/2021 2C Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P

County Attorney 3/30/2021 5:03:56 PM Referred Public Housing and Community Services Committee 4/15/2021

County Attorney 3/18/2021 Referred

County Attorney 3/18/2021 Assigned Marlon D. Moffett 3/18/2021

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR OR COUNTY MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO (1) DEVELOP A PLAN TO IMPLEMENT A STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM UNDER INTERNAL REVENUE CODE SECTION 127 (26 U.S.C. § 127) FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES WITH AT LEAST 10 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS, FULL-TIME COUNTY EMPLOYMENT; (2) IDENTIFY LEGALLY AVAILABLE FUNDING SOURCES FROM WITHIN THE FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 COUNTY BUDGET FOR THIS PROGRAM SHOULD IMPLEMENTATION OCCUR WITHIN THIS FISCAL YEAR; (3) INCLUDE THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IN THE MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEARS 2021-2022 THROUGH 2025-2026; (4) PROVIDE A REPORT WITHIN A SPECIFIED TIME ON THE COST OF THE PROGRAM, AND A RECOMMENDATION FOR HOW THE PROGRAM WILL BE FUNDED AND IMPLEMENTED

BODY
WHEREAS, skyrocketing higher education costs have resulted in record levels of student loan debt among college graduates in recent years; and
WHEREAS, high student debt burdens and defaults on loans have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy, and make it more difficult for graduates to buy a home, save for retirement, and get ahead in life; and
WHEREAS, a growing number of employers now offer student loan repayment assistance to their employees to improve employee recruitment and retention, and to help employees manage their financial future; and
WHEREAS, prior to March 2020, Section 127 of the tax code allowed employers to contribute up to $5,250.00 to their employees for tuition assistance and related expenses on a nontaxable basis, but did not allow employers to help employees pay back student loans on a nontaxable basis, meaning that any student loan repayment contributions were considered taxable income for the recipients and employers could not claim a deduction for such payments; and
WHEREAS, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, temporarily allowed employers to provide up to $5,250.00 in tax-exempt student loan repayment contributions or tuition assistance from March 27, 2020, through December 31, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (“CAA”), signed into law on December 27, 2020, extended these provisions for five years through December 31, 2025, allowing employers to continue making contributions of up to $5,250.00 per employee annually toward eligible education expenses, including tuition or student loan assistance, without raising the employee's gross taxable income; and
WHEREAS, any tuition or student loan repayment assistance above $5,250.00 per employee per calendar year will be taxed; and
WHEREAS, on August 27, 1963, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the Miami-Dade County Tuition Refund Program, currently set forth in Miami-Dade County Administrative Order 7-4, which provides that employees enrolled in accredited educational institutions may be reimbursed for 50 percent of tuition costs for approved coursework which will enable them to improve their performance in their current positions and prepare them for increased responsibilities; and
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade County does not currently provide student loan repayment assistance for County employees; and
WHEREAS, this Board desires to improve employee recruitment and retention and to help County employees to manage their financial future by establishing a student loan repayment assistance program until December 31, 2025, for County employees with at least 10 years of continuous, full-time employment with the County,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that:
Section 1. This Board directs the County Mayor or County Mayor’s designee to develop a plan to implement a student loan repayment assistance program under Internal Revenue Code Section 127 (26 U.S.C. § 127) until December 31, 2025 to provide nontaxable contributions of up to $5,250.00 per employee annually to be used towards the student loan debt of eligible County employees. Upon implementation of this program, payments will be made monthly, and shall not include any retroactive monthly payments for loan amounts due prior to the implementation of the program or prior to the employee’s eligibility. Payments may be made to the eligible employee or directly to the eligible employee’s lender, as determined by the County Mayor or County Mayor’s designee. For purposes of this resolution, “eligible County employee” shall be any full-time employee with 10 or more years of full-time, continuous (uninterrupted) County service. Eligible County employees will have an opportunity to participate in this program starting on their 10-year anniversary date, and ending when they are no longer in pay status, when their student loan debt is paid off, or on December 31, 2025, whichever occurs sooner. In addition, this benefit shall apply to the County’s non-bargaining employees, and all other employees covered by collective bargaining agreements whose agreements explicitly provide for this benefit for the employee.
Section 2. This Board further directs the County Mayor or County Mayor’s designee to identify legally available funding sources from within the fiscal year 2020-2021 County Budget that may be utilized to fund the implementation of the student loan repayment assistance program identified in section 1 above should said implementation occur within the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and to include the implementation of said program in the Mayor’s Proposed Budget for fiscal years 2021-2022 through 2025-2026, or, alternatively, if such funds are not available, provide recommendations on how the program may be implemented, including but not limited to, possible alternative sources of funding in the report required pursuant to section 3 below.
Section 3. The County Mayor or County Mayor's designee shall provide a report to this Board within 180 days of the effective date of this resolution on the cost of creating and providing the student loan repayment assistance to eligible County employees under this resolution and recommending how the program will be funded and implemented. The County Mayor or County Mayor’s designee shall place the completed report on the next available agenda of the Board pursuant to Ordinance No. 14-65.



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