Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES
Due to a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, Biola University has discontinued staff-only parking spaces. Through this decision, Biola will save an estimated $40,000 a year, which would otherwise be lost in taxes.
Facilities Management started painting over the staff-only parking spaces two weeks ago in order to meet the deadline on March 31. The most repainting has been happening in Lots A, B, C and F, with an estimated 393 faculty parking spaces being opened to students on campus.
“Since we are primarily funded through tuition, the leadership did not want to take on an additional tax burden that would be passed on to students,” Velasco said in an email. “This is an operational cost that could be avoided.”
According to senior director of university communications Brenda Velasco, the federal tax reform bill passed by President Donald Trump requires non-profit organizations and private universities like Biola to pay taxes for parking spaces limited to staff and faculty.
“For the past several months, leadership has been researching the financial impact on the university based on the law and the number of spaces, and verifying when Biola would be impacted,” Velasco said in an email. “The executive leadership received the clarity they needed to make their decision in the past month.”
This decision has resulted in the dual outcomes of taking away parking spaces from faculty and staff while opening new spaces for students.
Central plant swing operator Jonathan Stier shared his thoughts about this new decision.
“I think, considering the price that we would have to pay to keep them, it’s worth getting rid of [faculty and staff parking spaces],” Stier said. “At first I was like, ‘Aw, that’s gonna suck if I have to walk three minutes,’ but then if you think about it, it’s not that big of a deal.”
As a student who has a car on campus, senior international business major Seungwoo Jeong believes opening the parking spaces to students was a good decision.
“You know, I really despised the faculty parking spaces because I couldn’t find a regular parking spot, but the faculty spots were always empty,” Jeong said. “Having the faculty paint removed is something that opens up more benefits for the students. I always thought it was a waste to have empty parking spots that could not be taken by students.”