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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 19, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Tuition increase, more aid for higher education

Legislator misguided

The tuition hikes proposed by Reuven Carlyle [“Open doors for more: higher tuition, more aid,” guest commentary, March 19] are nothing more than new taxes targeting middle-class parents trying to put their kids through college. These are “regressive taxes” disguised as tuition hikes.

Regressive taxes are taxes that, in design and implementation, disproportionately overtax those in most need. For example, for a $2,000 tuition hike, a family making $50,000 a year pays 5 percent of their gross income for the tuition hike — parents already burdened by student loans. The person making $200,000 a year pays 1 percent of gross income, and only if they choose to attend our public university instead of a more expensive private school.

This was a favorite “trickle down” tool in the Bush years, “avoiding new taxes” by using regressive fees.

I know Rep. Carlyle. He is a smart, successful honorable man. But he is sadly misguided on this issue. He represents one of the wealthiest legislative districts in Seattle.

This tuition increase is as unfair as the bonuses to AIG execs. These hikes should trigger outrage, which unfortunately will detract from solutions President Obama is seeking. Worse, they will cost many kids in this state the chance to go to college.

— James E. Lalonde, Seattle

Comments | More in Higher education, Washington Legislature

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