State Relations

March 5, 2013

Elway Poll on Transportation Funding, Higher Ed Op-Eds, Bicycling Email Goes Viral, and Other News of the Week

A new Elway Poll on transportation funding is generating buzz in Olympia. The Seattle Times reports:

The poll found that 72 percent of the voters surveyed opposed a gas tax and 62 percent opposed a car tab. Those two taxes would provide most of the revenue collected under a transportation plan proposed by House Democrats.

More on the implications of the poll results:

Democratic State Senators Jeanne Kohl-Welles and David Frockt penned an op-ed in Crosscut explaining that Washington State continues to face a crisis in higher education funding:

In 2012, we put a tourniquet on the higher ed bleeding by holding the line on further cuts in state support, but our support for the cost of educating college students now sits at a historically low 35 percent of the total cost of an education. While we may have stopped the bleeding, we must now begin the healing. Our long-term goal should be to return this state to an equal balance of state support and tuition, with 50 percent coming from each, by the year 2020.

The duo advocate in favor of performance-driven incentive funding.

In an op-ed for the Yakima Herald Republic, Republican State Reps. Bruce Chandler and Charles Ross argue in favor of the the Washington State version of the “Dream Act,” which would allow some qualified DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients to receive state financial aid.

These children are members of our community — they play on sports teams with our children and attend birthday parties in our homes. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What role will they play in the future of our communities and state?” Will we provide them the same opportunities as our children to earn a degree and be fully engaged members of our communities, or will we let them drift through life with no future aspirations and empty time on their hands to potentially cause trouble? The consequences of doing nothing may mean additional strain on social services and corrections.

The proposal they are supporting is House Bill 1817, which has passed out of the House Higher Education and House Appropriations committees. Read more on the proposal in The News Tribune.

Finally, a state lawmaker from Southwest Washington is apologizing for a comment about bicyclists emitting carbon emissions, after his email to a bike shop owner went viral online. The row comes at the same time that House Republicans say they plan to offer a transportation proposal of their own.

In other news from the State Legislature this week: