Tag Archives: 10th Legislative District

Senate majority makes college more affordable with historic tuition cuts

By Laudan Espinoza | Published on July 27, 2015

Senate Majority leader Mark Schoesler recaps the news coverage of an historic session:

Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S.

Seattle Times, June 13, 2015

Washington’s move isn’t well-known elsewhere in the country, but some say it could spur other states to think about cuts.

“I don’t know how widely known this proposal was,” said Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “If Washington gets lots of headlines, I really think a lot of people are going to be asking: ‘What’s going on in Washington? Why are they doing that?’ ”

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/historic-tuition-cut-sets-state-apart-from-rest-of-us/

 

Washington State Moves To Cut Public University Tuition By Up To 20 Percent

Associated Press, June 30, 2015:

“A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession. … The tuition cut was a Republican legislative priority this year that [Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy] Hill said has been wildly popular.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/washington-tuition-cut_559305a7e4b000c99ee1d23c

 

World Editorial Board | Yes, a tuition cut

Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015

It is an astounding, attention-getting move. No other state has had the courage to try it. It is a pay hike for the middle class, future debt relief for students and a significant boost for accessibility to higher education.

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/yes-a-tuition-cut/

 

Legislature OKs new budget with rare tuition cuts and pay raises for teachers

Seattle Times, June 29, 2015

No other state has cut tuition for its public universities and colleges for the coming academic year, according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/budget-deal-cuts-tuition-closes-tax-breaks/

 

World Editorial Board | A state budget worth the wait

The Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015:

“The Washington Legislature at long last passed and the governor signed a two-year operating budget. It is a budget with strong bipartisan support, hailed by leaders of both parties, praised in House, Senate and governor’s office, described as one of the most innovative and satisfying budgets in memory. It almost could be forgotten that the budget deal came only after an excruciating six months of stalemate, maneuver and special sessions.”

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/a-state-budget-worth-the-wait/

 

GOP tuition cuts a breath of fresh political air

Seattle Times, Danny Westneat, July 4, 2015:

We’re now the laboratory for two social experiments: the $15 minimum wage, and big cuts to college tuition. What’s unique is they come from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

That it was Republicans who just scored what is believed to be the biggest college tuition cut in state history is a startling development.

“Over the years the state’s colleges had been defunded by the Democrats. It was part of a strategy called “high-tuition, high financial aid.” The colleges could increase tuition, while the cash-strapped state would focus on financial aid for needier students instead of giving a rich subsidy to everyone. …It was surprisingly the Republicans who launched a drive to reverse this privatization trend. In particular it was Baumgartner and Oak Harbor Sen. Barbara Bailey, joined later by freshman senator John Braun of Centralia.”

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/gop-tuition-cuts-a-breath-of-fresh-political-air/

 

Editorial: Lower tuition boon to access higher education

Walla Walla Union Bulletin, July 7, 2015:

“The decision by the Legislature to slash tuition at public universities by 15 to 20 percent was a bold and prudent move that puts public higher education on the right path.”

http://union-bulletin.com/news/2015/jul/07/editorial-lower-tuition-boon-access-higher-educati/

 

Ron Judd, Columnist

Seattle Times, July 3, 2015:

The Legislature’s slashing of tuition at public universities is one of the few things state government has gotten right in the past decade. Kudos to the GOP legislators who made it happen.
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/lets-face-it-washingtons-state-flag-is-a-bit-of-a-bust/

 

The forever session: In which Republicans are winning

Everett Herald (Jerry Cornfield), July 2, 2015:

“Credit Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. Under his leadership; the 26-member caucus displayed a rigid discipline and it paid off as its factions of conservatives and moderates can claim an important political victory or three this session.

“They beat down a capital gains tax and beat back a low-carbon fuel standard. They warded off cap-and-trade and minimum wage. They approved a gas tax hike — more than once — and many of their members are smiling about it. And the nation knows Senate Republicans drafted the unprecedented cut in tuition for students at public colleges and universities.

“It’s hard to see how it could have turned out much better for them.”

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150702/NEWS01/150709839

 

World Editorial Board | Yes, a tuition cut

Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015:

“It is an astounding, attention-getting move. No other state has had the courage to try it. It is a pay hike for the middle class, future debt relief for students and a significant boost for accessibility to higher education. The Washington Legislature has voted to cut tuition at public universities by 15-20 percent by 2016. Community college tuition will be cut 5 percent.”

https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/yes-a-tuition-cut/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington teacher’s union supports convicted child molesters receiving state funded pensions

By Laudan Espinoza | Published on February 24, 2015

In Washington, public employees who commit a crime don’t lose their taxpayer guaranteed retirements, and teachers can earn the right to a lifetime retirement after working for as little as five years.

In Washington, public employees who commit a crime don’t lose their taxpayer guaranteed retirements, and teachers can earn the right to a lifetime retirement after working for as little as five years.

KING 5 asked the state for a list of all the teachers who have had their Washington teaching license revoked and compared that list to a list of all the public employees receiving a pension.

The state has multiple retirement plans for teachers. Two of them would be considered a traditional pension plan, the third includes a private component. KING 5 only focused on the first two.

That led to a list of 22 teachers, most who had been convicted of crimes against children, who together have received about $5.1 million above their own retirement contributions, interest included as of the end of 2014.

That’s about $236,027.95 on average per person.

The list includes people like Norman Standley, David Lloyd Anderson, William Pickerel, Ruben Carrera, Alfredo Castillo and Ande Strittmatter, who were all found guilty of child molestation, Larry Pierson who was found guilty of assault with sexual motivation, Craig Figley who is serving a life sentence for molesting children and Christopher Loftus who was convicted of child rape.

In one specific example, KING 5 looked at the records for Laurence “Shayne” Hill. Hill was convicted on multiple counts of child molestation in King County in 2005 after he admitted to molesting his 10-year-old and 11-year-old students.

By the end of last year, Hill had received about $334,471.03 from the state retirement system; just over $208,568.16 was money above and beyond what Hill contributed into his own retirement, interest included.

“What! It’s that gut reaction of, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ This person is in prison for this and they are receiving several thousand dollars a month? What?!” exclaimed Anne Marie Gurney, a researcher with the Freedom Foundation, a conservative policy group in Washington state.

Gurney contacted KING 5 with concerns about the state’s pension laws.

“To a certain degree, we need to protect our taxpayers,” Gurney said.

At least 25 states, including Alaska, California, and Arizona, have pension forfeiture laws, in other words public employees and/or elected officials convicted of a crime lose at least some aspect of their taxpayer funded retirements.

Washington does not have a pension forfeiture law.

“I really think that probably it has never really come to the surface,” said State Senator Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor.

Bailey is the chair of the Select Committee on Pension Policy.

“I would agree, you know some things are so egregious you really can’t understand how these things can happen,” Bailey said regarding teachers who have committed crimes against children and are still receiving a pension.

Bailey said she’d consider whether public employees who commit a crime should be required to forfeit a portion of their pension, for instance to help pay for incarceration costs.

“I think that is only fair, and I think taxpayers would agree,” Bailey said.

Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, said he would be open to considering some kind of pension forfeiture law for future hires, but he would want to make sure whatever penalty was imposed only negatively impacted the person who committed the crime and not his or her dependents.

“I would fight it,” said Kit Raney, President of the Washington Teacher’s Association-Retired. She represents the interests of retired teachers.

“So, this is just pure noise and a non-issue as far as I’m concerned,” Raney said.

Raney said she doesn’t believe teachers should lose their pensions under any circumstance.

“If a worker commits a crime, it is handled by the legal system. The trial, the conviction is part of the legal system. It is totally separate from the pension system, which they contributed to and earned throughout their career. It’s apples and oranges,” Raney said.

Raney accused the Freedom Foundation of being anti-teacher and anti-pension.

Gurney said the issue is not teachers or their pensions, but creating the legal room for taxpayers to have a choice.

“I think taxpayers should have a choice if they are going to fund the pension of hardened criminals,” Gurney said.

Any new legislation would be met with by lot of resistance.

For now, Senator Bailey said she’s studying her options and the earliest she would propose a bill would be next year.

 

Courtesy of King 5