By Jeanne Duffy Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin
AmeriCorps members make a difference in Racine and communities throughout Wisconsin, and we can make a difference for them by exempting the AmeriCorps education award from state income tax.
Each year, over 1,200 AmeriCorps members serve 1 million hours at nearly 350 service sites across Wisconsin. AmeriCorps members in Racine serve with the Racine Zoo, Public Allies Milwaukee, MCHS Volunteer Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, and Wisconsin Reading Corps, with plans underway for future Racine programs.
Our state’s AmeriCorps members positively impact Wisconsinites by providing educational programming, supporting citizens with disabilities, assisting homeless youth, constructing housing, completing conservation and disaster recovery projects, helping people lead healthier lives, and in numerous other ways.
Additionally, they stepped up to assist local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by helping students during remote learning and at reopened schools and by supporting food banks, school meal programs, 211 call lines, contact tracing, patient follow-up calls, and other relief efforts.
Following their service, AmeriCorps members earn a federal education award that can be used for tuition or to pay back student loan debt. Unlike other scholarships, this education award is subject to state income taxes that increase their tax bills while students attending college or starting a new job with limited incomes.
Recognizing this issue, Governor Evers proposed exempting the education award from taxation in the 2021-23 Executive Budget.
Eliminating the state income tax on the AmeriCorps Education Award is a wonderful way to recognize and thank AmeriCorps members for their contributions to the State of Wisconsin.