Like us, our state representatives have a lot on their plates as they currently meet in the 2021 legislative session. BCAHE Secretary – Treasurer Chace Stiehl warned last spring that we would likely face decreased funding for higher education in this budget year, and he was right. The session is starting with a governor’s budget, which does not include the colas that would help us continue to replace the wage losses we realized during the Great Recession. It is a budget, which offers, in general, little support for community and technical college faculty and students.
Although it looks like Washington will receive some help from the federal government under the new administration, Chace also reminded us that with our state’s regressive tax system and without an income tax on adjusted gross income or capital gains, there will likely continue to be no dedicated CTC budget. What that means is that every four years, we must grovel for funds. It means that it is still up to us to make sure that our representatives know we faculty and our students need their support. The Time is NOW!
Please contact your legislators and those on the Senate Higher Education and Workforce and the College and House Workforce Development Committees to support SB 5194 and companion bill HB 1318. You may testify at a hearing*, send written testimony*, or simply register your support or opposition to a bill.
How to contact your elected officials:
STEP 1: Find your Representatives: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/
STEP 2: Go to Washington State Legislature
STEP 3: Select House or Senate committee with drop down menu.
STEP 4: Select date and time with drop down menu.
STEP 5: Select agenda item from list provided and select your choice: testify, submit written testimony* or register position. Select Higher education. The testimony option is “I would like my position noted for the legislative record.”
STEP 6: Fill out the demographic information as instructed.
Great! You are done, now go tell three of your colleagues how easy it was and help them to do the same.
*Sample written testimony:
“Community and Technical Colleges are a vulnerable part of the budget, and they have not been broadly supported in over a decade. Affordable education is in peril; we cannot sustain a repeat of the last economic crisis. You are in a position to provide funds to address full-time to part-time staffing ratios, pay parity, and our slow raises in faculty pay. Please help us to create a dedicated funding stream and/or the ability to seek local bond assistance.”