Berkeley student Vetri Velan builds online calculator to decode Republican Tax Plan

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Vetri Velan (Courtesy: news.berkeley.edu)

NEW YORK – Indian American Vetri Velan, along with fellow University of California Berkeley student Kathy Shield, have built an online calculator that will let their fellow grad students figure out what the new Republican tax plan might cost them.

According to a Berkeley press release, Velan used the calculator to estimate that the House version of the bill would raise his taxes by about 30 percent, or about $1,100.

“The calculator aims to give graduate students a sense of how their taxes will change under the new law. It’s designed for students who file singly, and therefore have (relatively) simple taxes, although we’ve also used it to look at the situations of married students, those with dependents and those who own homes,” said Shield, who is a graduate student in nuclear engineering.

“In each case, our calculator indicates that their taxes will increase if the changes in the House version of the tax bill go through,” she added.

Velan is a graduate student in physics who participated in the protest which took place a UC Berkeley when the tax plan passed the House.

“I felt the calculator would raise awareness by showing students the effects on their own personal finances,” he said.

In addition to helping build the calculator and taking part in the protest, Velan is contacting legislators and encouraging colleagues and friends to spread the word about their calculator.

“Some grad students in ESPM organized a phone blitz for students to come and call their legislators! So the entire community has been coming together on this issue,” he said.

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