Case in Point

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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Public Testimony (speech: WA State House Ways/Means Committee)

Yakima Convention Center
February 2, 1987

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee:

My name is Robert Case II and I’m a member of the Board of Trustees of Central Washington University and a past two term Chairman of the Board of CWU. I’m also the owner of a 50 year old small business in Ellensburg.

I’m appearing before you to press the case for adequate, which means increased, funding for Central. In general, I agree with the Governor’s budget.

My conviction for the need for more money for CWU doesn’t rely only on the somewhat self-serving argument for higher salaries for faculty and administrators. Although the need for peer equity in that area to stop the brain drain has already been made known to this body by various individuals.

My conviction for the need for increased state allocation for Central doesn’t rest only on the fact that we at Central merit an increase because we have made the most dramatic improvement in entering student quality of any public university in the state, or because we have the finest accounting and education and geography and music departments in the state, a-world class chimpanzee and rat research lab, or a nationally recognized art department and drama department, or that our work in acid rain, mushroom cultures and archeology is receiving international attention and acclaim.

Nor does my conviction rest only on the fact that we are the only public university not serving the I-5 corridor or the greater Spokane area, and consequently we are the most neglected university in this state. Frankly, we deserve special attention, read more attention, from you legislators just because we have fewer advocates in the legislature.

My conviction that we need increased funding doesn’t stem only from the fact that Central Washington (Yakima and Ellensburg) is an economically depressed area and Central is the largest employer in the region, When faculty and administrators reluctantly leave the area for better paying jobs, or retrench in their personal finances, the economic repercussions are like tidal waves in these communities because we don’t have large population base like the other universities. I might add at this point that the student enrollment cap placed on Central has helped stifle economic growth in our area. Take the cap off and let us go into the market place of students and compete for as many of the best and brightest students as we can.

Concerning the specific Proposals of the governor’s tax package, as a Realtor I don’t object to paying taxes on what I make so the proposed tax on my fees isn’t particularly irksome. For me, the new tax is somewhat offset by the reduction in the odious B & 0 tax which taxes me even when I don’t make any money.

Ultimately, the way to generate more revenue for Central Washington University is a combination of the state having a tax structure which encourages business growth and prosperity and for we at Central to continue our efforts to privately raise extra money through the Central Washington University Foundation.

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