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Lawmakers again push to end tax on loan repayment program

Lawmakers have reintroduced legislation meant to increase the amount of government funding veterinarians can receive for practicing in rural areas.

The bill would remove withholding taxes on the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. The program offers doctors up to $25,000 a year in student loan repayment in exchange for a commitment of at least three years of service in a USDA-designated rural veterinary shortage area. USDA designated 221 shortage areas in 48 states this year.

But critics, including the AVMA, say the tax makes the program less effective. “By ending this tax, the program would reach more communities that need veterinarians and maximize existing funding,” the AVMA said in a campaign urging industry members to support the bill.