UW Advocates: Mid-Session Update
We’re just past mid-session, and already we have plenty of information to report to our advocates. Let’s jump right in:
The Workforce Education Investment Act
First, thank you to advocates who have sent more than 450 messages to legislators this session in support of maintaining the critical investments in the Workforce Education Investment Act (WEIA), such as expanded financial aid. Your communications contributed to action by lawmakers to create a fix to collect the revenue needed to fund WEIA.
Entering into session, WEIA faced a projected revenue shortfall due to two main reasons: the challenges of properly categorizing and collecting revenue from the industries that would be taxed at a higher rate, and significantly higher than expected demand for the financial aid promised in WEIA (this one is a good challenge to have).
Lawmakers addressed these challenges early, coming up with a tax fix to the Workforce Education Act that has already been signed by Gov. Inslee. The main changes to the bill we championed last session are:
- Significantly fewer businesses will be taxed than in the first iteration of the bill
- The revenue will be collected from businesses that gross more than $1M, the vast majority of which rely on a pipeline of trained/skilled workers.
Look for an email from us at the end of session to thank lawmakers who voted to support the budgetary commitments made by WEIA last session.
UW recognized by the Carnegie Foundation
Exciting news: All three of UW’s campuses have received the prestigious Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. This designation recognizes an institution’s commitment to community engagement and service. This recognition highlights UW’s commitment to public service and its support of public higher education in the state of Washington for ALL of Washington.
As noted by UW News, the application process was a campus-wide effort, identifying hundreds of campus partnerships, that captured the wide scope and depth of our community impact. The alumni engagement, lifelong learning and advocacy programs of UWAA and UW Impact were included as examples for the application. We are proud to continue providing opportunities for our alumni to be engaged citizens in our community and beyond.
Statewide Town Hall Meetings
During the next couple of weeks, Washington state legislators will be returning to their respective districts or arranging telephone town halls to hear more about issues that matter to their constituents. This is an important opportunity to make sure your voice is heard! If you are able to attend a meeting, be sure to wear your Husky purple and to remind your legislators that their investment in higher education is an investment in Washington’s future.