Report: State Cannot Afford Its New “Washington College Promise” Law
State Sen. admits the law “didn’t have a lot of time for development, either on the policy side or the funding side.”
Washington lawmakers made national headlines when they promised to use a new business tax to make tuition at public colleges significantly more affordable — or free — for students across the state, starting in the 2020-2021 school year.
But now, after 31,000 students have submitted financial-aid forms, lawmakers and government officials are questioning whether the tax raises enough money to keep their promise.
. . . . State Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said last year’s law “didn’t have a lot of time for development, either on the policy side or the funding side.”
The premise of last year’s college-affordability legislation, which came as Gov. Jay Inslee campaigned for president, was to guarantee financial aid for anyone who qualified.
. . . . Officials planned to pay for the grants through a surcharge on roughly 82,000 businesses that rely on college-educated workers, such as Microsoft and Amazon, and also consulting firms, engineering companies and other businesses.
The law included a description of the types of businesses subject to the surcharge, but according to the agency tasked with collecting the tax, the language is so complex that it anticipates trouble with getting companies to pay. So far, some smaller businesses, such as doctor’s offices, have requested an exemption.
“We have concerns that we will be able to collect this,” said Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesperson for the Department of Revenue.
In response to concerns about a potential shortfall, Inslee has requested $28 million from the general fund to offset the expected budget shortfall, an acknowledgment that the state may not raise enough in 2020 tax revenues to cover the college grant’s cost. An estimate from the state Office of Financial Management projects this shortfall will swell to nearly $50 million a year by fiscal year 2023, as more high school graduates start college.
Watch the announcement of this free/heavily-subsidized college “promise”:
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Officials planned to pay for the grants through a surcharge on roughly 82,000 businesses that rely on college-educated workers, such as Microsoft and Amazon, and also consulting firms, engineering companies and other businesses.
I’ve spent a half century in a career in scientific and engineering work, all of it almost certainly beyond anything anyone in the legislature can even imagine, let alone understand. And in all that time I don’t recall ever even encountering anyone who attended a school in Washington. Which is a hint that this boondoggle may be a sterling exemplar of “money down a rathole.”
LOLGF! typical politicians…
Free shit costs real money? Ya don’t say…
Welcome to the new normal in Washington, which is now totally dominated by the Democrats elected by two or three counties around Seattle. The rest of the state doesn’t matter any more, and the Democrats can do whatever they want as long as they keep promising free stuff to the people in Seattle.
Inslee recently unveiled a bunch of new “gun safety” (meaning gun confiscation) schemes that are worse than those being pushed through in Virginia. None of these schemes ever reduce crime, just like Clinton’s decade of prohibitions that Obama’s FBI concluded had no effect on crime. But the dummies in Seattle will feel safer, and feelings are more important to Democrats than reality.
It appears that no one did the basic math here. Math shows reality.
1. wishful socialist thinking trumps math.
2. if their math fails, steal the money from the general budget which creates shortfalls in other promised budget items, which means more tax hikes from “other” sources. Sounds like trickle-up economics. In other words, if the corporate world can’t provide, bleed the middle class.
Well, they could let Liberty (east of the Cascades) split off and maybe could afford their socialism for a while more.
Seems if Inslee raises taxes, fewer will be able to afford and more will need money. And if he funds them, more still will need money. Eventually, the system will equilabrate but wouldn’t jobs be a better solution? Oh wait…
The solution is obvious. Staring them in the face. Just pass a federal “College Subsidy Promise Law”, promising to use a new tax to make subsidizing public college tuition significantly more affordable — or free — for states across the nation.