HB 1913: Making college more affordable

March 28, 2017
HB 1913 is approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee. It now goes to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for further consideration.

March 14, 2017
HB 1913 was heard in the Senate Higher Education Committee. Here is my testimony in support of the bill:

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March 7, 2017
HB 1913 passed off the House floor by a vote of 86-11. You can watch the brief floor debate here:

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March 3, 2017
HB 1913 was approved by the House Finance Committee and now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

February 17, 2017
HB 1913 was heard in the House Finance Committee. You can watch the committee testimony below:

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February 2, 2017
I’m sponsoring HB 1913 at the request of our state community and technical colleges, which provide higher education opportunities for nearly 400,000 students in Washington state. Our 34 community and technically colleges provide opportunities for higher levels of skills an knowledge. These colleges need more than just classrooms to serve students. They need bookstores, cafeterias, and other non-educational services to adequately serve their students.

Since the Great Recession many community and technical colleges began contracting out these non-educational services to third-party vendors as a means to be more efficient and cut fewer academic programs during lean budget years. And up until recently, excise tax has not been applied to these services. But a new interpretation from the state Department of Revenue now says the excise tax applies.

These are charges applied to colleges that were never planned or accounted for, therefore prices were not set appropriately. If these taxes apply, those increased expenses will ultimately be passed along to students. I don’t think that’s the right decision, especially at a time when lawmakers are working to make college more affordable for students.

My bill would exempt certain leasehold agreements on community and technical college campuses from paying a leasehold excise tax, ultimately making college more affordable for students.