I-1351 will likely mean higher college tuition

Legislators are grappling with the need to find billions more for K-12 schools to satisfy the McCleary case. Initiative 1351 would mandate additional billions more in spending in the short-term. State leaders simply don’t know, in addition to the extra McCleary funding, how they would pay for I-1351 too.

And it’s not just Republicans saying that. Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) told the Everett Herald yesterday, “It’s a great concept, but there’s no way to pay for it. I don’t know how you come up with the money. I don’t know how you do it.”

I’m concerned that there is one obvious path legislators would take to make up for some of I-1351’s spending: cut funding for our state universities. In the past, higher education has been among the first cuts the state makes during tough budget times. We’ve seen it happen many times.

Cutting higher ed is an “easy” cut for Olympia leaders to make because the shortfall can be made up by hiking tuition. That makes college harder to afford for everyone, but especially for students from middle class families who don’t qualify for need-based scholarship opportunities and are squeezed by higher tuition rates.

Tuition hikes are, in a way, tax hikes in disguise – tax hikes that only apply to families with college-aged kids.

The state has finally made progress on higher ed funding, after decades of heading the wrong way. I-1351 virtually guarantees higher ed will be cut again. In this initiative, that’s just one more high price to pay.
-Rob McKenna

Part 1: class size initiative is a budget buster
Part 2: I-1351 requires smaller classes with no plan for new classrooms

The following two tabs change content below.
Rob McKenna
Rob served two terms as Washington’s Attorney General, from 2005 to 2013. He successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and negotiated three of the largest consumer financial protection settlements in national history, all involving mortgage lending and servicing. He is a recognized leader in the development of consumer protections on the internet, in data protection and privacy regulation.