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House Bill 35

House Bill 35

Phil Haunschild
January 26, 2017

Bill description: This bill creates a new scholarship for students returning to higher education after spending at least three years away.

Rating: -3

Analyst’s note: This bill is a near replica of SB1291, which failed by a narrow margin to pass in the Senate in 2016. The new bill includes a stipulations allowing the program its own administration expenses and what to do if the program is not funded. The bill says a handful of employees can properly administer the program. Funding “may be used for allowable administrative costs to include, but not be limited to, operating expenses for the implementation and maintenance of an application program, operating expenses to administer the program, personnel costs necessary to administer the  program, personnel costs necessary to administer the program and costs related to promoting awareness of the program.” Administration of this program would cost the state $97,200 a year, $91,200 of it for the salaries of additional employees.

The bill is problematic in that it creates a new government program built on the notion that taxpayers are responsible for paying for college for adults who did not get degrees in their first attempts.

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government? 

This program which this bill creates is entirely new for the state. The new program includes with it an entirely new administration staff, along with the funding they require. The role of the program is to provide scholarships for adults who have a partial degree from an institution of higher education, but have spent more than three years without continuing. These individuals would be granted a scholarship of $3,000 for up to 8 consecutive semesters. The job of the new employees will be to properly administer this scholarship to the individuals it is directed  for. (-1)

Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth? 

Yes, this bill creates a program designed to redistribute wealth. College students who worked hard to finish their degrees would be forced through taxation to pay for the college educations of people who did not. Recent studies have shown government subsidies of this kind are responsible for much of the inflation in higher education today. This bill takes money from some and gives it to others, whatever the intent. (-1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt? 

The bill does not detail the annual cost for this program, nor does it set a limit on each disbursement. The bill simply states the scholarship shall not exceed tuition costs. This allows the Board to determine the amount of funding given to each applicant annually. The fiscal note, however, estimates this scholarship program will require $3 million a year from the general fund. (-1)

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