Open Government

WPC's Center for Government Reform's mission is to partner with stakeholders and citizens to work toward a government focused on its core functions while improving its transparency, accountability, performance, and effectiveness for taxpayers.

What's New

Legislator activities reported for local district voters

January 29, 2010 in In the News
The Grand Coulee Star
Source: 
The Grand Coulee Star
Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2010

Washington Think Tank Says Reliance on Sin Taxes Won’t Work

January 29, 2010 in In the News
The Biz Coach
Source: 
The Biz Coach
Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2010

Legislative Roll Call Report

January 29, 2010 in In the News
The Daily News (Longview)
Source: 
The Daily News (Longview)
Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2010

"How'd they vote?" Week of Jan 25-29

January 29, 2010 in In the News
Tri-City Herald
Source: 
Tri-City Herald
Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2010

How your lawmakers voted

January 29, 2010 in In the News
The News Tribune (Tacoma)
Source: 
The News Tribune (Tacoma)
Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2010

Is it time to restructure higher education?

January 28, 2010 in Blog

The legislature is currently considering numerous proposals to grant higher education institutions expanded tuition authority. The proposals have received mixed support from the state's 4-year institutions.

In light of the state's long-term budget outlook, serious consideration must be given to reforming the way the state finances higher education. The Washington Policy Center believes the state's four-year universities need to be empowered to have more control over their budget and finances and be less dependent on taxpayer subsidies.

One potential model is to allow the state's universities to transition to business enterprise status. In 2004, Colorado and Japan moved in this direction.

Here is what Colorado lawmakers decided:

!

"The general assembly finds that greater resource flexibility for state institutions of higher education can enhance more educational opportunities, as well as increase educational excellence.

The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

(a)  The provision of higher education services is a business and;

(b)  For the purposes of determining whether an institution or group of institutions may be designated as an enterprise, it is sufficient that the institution or group of institutions receives less than ten percent of its total annual revenues in grants from all Colorado state and local governments combined and the governing board of the institution of higher education or group of institutions has authority to issue revenue bonds on behalf of such institution or group of institutions." />

Here are details on what occurred in Japan:

“The Japanese higher education system has recently undergone a dramatic change. Reforms, passed in 2004, granted independent corporation status to the 87 national universities. While they will still be part of the public sector, they are to be independently managed with their staff no longer being civil servants. They will also be able to set their own tuition fee levels, but may not exceed 110 percent of the standard tuition fee set by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.” (Source)

“Even after reform, the new National University Corporations remains basically ‘national’ in the sense that the state remains responsible for their functions, providing the maj!
or part of the funds that they need. Their personnel and other operational costs will be covered by ‘operational grants’ from the government. The grants will be ‘block grants’ which can be used at the discretion of each university without designated applications. It will be also possible to carry the grants over to subsequent years. For facilities of national universities, ‘capital development funds’ will be allocated separately.” (Source)

In Japan, the majority of universities are private versus public.

Moving to a high tuition/high financial aid model while providing the smaller state universities with the type of "block grants" used in Japan to help with the transition, may hold promise for restructuring how Washington partners with the four-year universities.

More info on $590 million for rail-improvement projects in Washington

January 28, 2010 in In the News
Bellingham Herald
Source: 
Bellingham Herald
Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Now is not the time to add to tax burden

January 28, 2010 in In the News
Spokane Journal of Business
Source: 
Spokane Journal of Business
Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2010

State Bills On Eminent Domain Stalled In Legislature

January 27, 2010 in In the News
KGMI AM 790
Source: 
KGMI AM 790
Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2010