Eugene Lawmaker Pushes Higher Education Funding Boost

May 12, 2019

As the University of Oregon continues to weigh tuition increases for the upcoming school year, one Eugene lawmaker is pushing a bill that would boost funding for higher education.

Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, is in his first term in Salem. With a district that includes much of the University of Oregon as well as the Lane Community College main campus, it’s only natural that he’d be tuned in to higher education needs.

Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

And right now, universities and colleges across the state are trying to choose between cutting programs or raising tuition. So Wilde introduced a bill that would tweak Oregon’s estate tax, a move he says could bring in about $145 million in the next two-year budget cycle, half of which would be earmarked for need-based grants.

“We don’t provide aid to everybody who’s eligible for it. We just run out of money perennially, every year, in those programs,” said Wilde.

One challenge? The bill was assigned to a committee that, by legislative rules, can no longer vote on it. Wilde says it’s not a lost cause, as some ideas come back in future sessions.

“This is part of a long-term conversation about how we’re going to fund higher education,” he said.