Goldy Disses UW President For Not Supporting Tax Reform, Republican Pushes FOR Tax reform,

While over at the SLOG, David Goldstein criticizes UW President Young for not arguing for tax reform at the TownHall Forum. how many liberals are aware that a Republican, WA Senator Michael Baumgartner, has proposed a constitutional amendment to force the State to support higher ed?

For what it is worth, Senator Baumgartner is running for the Republican nomination as candidate against Senator Maria Cantwell.  Wouldn’t is be wonderful if the two parties united in support of higher education?

Baumgartner’s measure would increase higher-education funding by $890 million

Senate Joint Resolution 8225 would amend Article IX of the Washington State Constitution, which makes providing for basic education the state’s “paramount duty,” to make higher education the second-highest duty of the state. It also would establish a dedicated funding source for higher education: 1.75 cents of every retail sales dollar on which tax is collected.

“Just as K-12 education was essential in the 20th century, higher education and training is critical in the 21st,” Baumgartner said. “After studying budget decisions over the past decade, it is clear that to keep college as a practical option for the middle class; we must make it a constitutional priority with a dedicated source of funding.”

“This is not a new tax; it is a better prioritization of current taxpayer dollars,” said Baumgartner. “Twenty years ago the state paid 80 percent of the cost of higher education at four-year institutions; today that figure stands at just 36 percent.”


Higher Ed Chart

“The sad truth is that the Legislature continues the trend of the last 20 years in making a conscious decision to defund higher education and spend the money on other things,” warned Baumgartner.

I must admit to not understanding the implications of Senator Baumgartner’s bill.  How can one add 900 million dollars to higher ed without raising taxes and without cutting K-12?   On the other hand, this sort of debate seems to me to be exactly the entry point for faculty. Is it really Michael Young’s job … as a an appointed public official … to talk about tax reform?  Can he even make that argument without violating UW rules about participating in politics?  Shouldn’t the faculty … with its huge expertise in economics and in the state services Washington State must offer, help Senator Baumgartner by offering ideas about how his amendment could work? 
It seems to me that it is the faculty, rather than the President, that should be explaining why the Washington needs tax reform.  Perhaps if he had our support as experts in our fields as well as citizens, the President could do a better job?

We could all take some lessons from Pogo.

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