Last week, state Senate Republicans rolled out the “College Affordability Program”(SB 5954), a plan that seeks to decrease the cost of college tuition at public universities. The bill would link tuition to the average state wage. Research universities like the University of Washington and Washington State University would have tuitions capped at 14 percent of the average state wage. Regional schools like Western Washington University would be capped at 10 percent and community colleges would be capped at 6 percent.
Sen. Barbara Bailey offered this graph of what the bill would mean for tuition, given the state’s current average wage of $52,635.
Under Democrat leadership in the Legislature, students pursuing a higher education have faced an exponential growth in tuition rates — budget after budget has leeched off students in order to pay for Democrats’ special interest agenda. Democrats have used college tuition hikes, essentially a tax on the middle class, as a cash cow for their campaign-funding agenda—including public employee pay hikes—for more than a decade.
The following is a graph that shows how Democrats more than doubled college tuition when they had control of the state budget.
Senate Republicans gave some relief to working Washington families when they insisted on tuition freezes two years ago—though Democrats did everything they could to prevent a freeze. SB 5954 allows for a more permanent solution to the problem of increasing tuition for middle class families by preventing Democrats from turning to hikes to fund their special interest agenda in the future.
The “College Affordability Program” is expected to cost $226 million, that’s a little more than half a percent of the entire $37 billion biennial budget. And, if treated like an education priority in the state budget, could be funded without an increase in taxes.
As could be expected by past experiences, Democrats attempted to obstruct the bill in a rather devious manner yesterday. More, in the process, Senate Democrats attempted to blame Senate Republicans for rising tuition hikes via an underhanded tweet that read: “.@WashingtonSRC opposes responsible funding for tuition reduction: opposes responsible funding for tuition reduction…” The “responsible funding” Democrats are referring to is a whopping $170 million tax increase they attempted to attach to the bill which Republicans promptly rejected.
Republicans answered the Democrats’ sneaky strategy and blame-game with the prefect response: the truth (exhibited by the chart/info above). You see, Democrats cannot hide from the fact that the sorry state of education funding, both K-12 and higher education, in Washington State is due to budgets they’ve controlled and passed for the last 30 years.