LTR: ‘Colorado ASSET’ bill would be asset for the state
April 12, 2012
Dear Members of the General Assembly,
We are writing as Republicans, entrepreneurs and business leaders to express our support for Senate Bill 12-015, also known as the “Colorado ASSET” bill.
The Republican Party is the Party of Opportunity, because it stands for individual empowerment, and not government reliance. Access to higher education is a fundamental source of individual empowerment. We do not ask that anyone get subsidized tuition. We do seek to remove unnecessary obstacles to individual opportunity. One of those obstacles is the exorbitant rate of tuition at our institutions of higher education for out-of-state students. In particular, charging these unjustifiably high rates for individuals who through residency in Colorado are in fact taxpayers makes no economic sense and is just needlessly punitive.
We do no not condone illegal behavior from anyone, but tacking on high fees to tuition is not the appropriate response. We allow violent in-state criminals to pay lower rates of tuition than we do the children of hard-working undocumented immigrants. A college-educated person will be a greater contributor, wherever that person ends up living. And we would hope that person would be more easily able to legally become a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America as a future example of our country's great tradition of embracing immigrants who go on to do great things.
This bill provides undocumented students a cost-effective method for furthering their educational pursuits. Many of them will someday obtain legal status and when they do, a postsecondary degree will prepare them to become productive, contributing members of our businesses and society. Clearly, the bill provides an incentive for students to remain in school, bettering their future prospects and improving Colorado’s prosperity. Given our state’s low graduation rates, it is irrational to impose additional barriers to any student’s odds of success.
Increasing the education and productivity rates of Colorado’s population will also attract new business investment, generate economic growth, and increase tax revenues for the state. This is what economic development is all about — fueling the workforce pipelines of our existing industries and bringing the jobs of tomorrow here today by ensuring that a strong workforce is in place, ready to fill those new jobs.
The competition for the country’s talented minds is fierce. More than eleven states provide in-state tuition to undocumented students, including five of Colorado’s neighbors (UT, NE, KS, NM, TX). If we do not address this issue soon, our competitors in other states will maintain this advantage.
Finally, the bill creates a positive revenue stream for our state’s cash-strapped public colleges and universities. The immediate benefit to our higher education system is convincing at any juncture, but particularly compelling now, as these challenging economic times and significant budget cuts threaten its sustainability. For these reasons, we urge you to support SB 12-015.
Pat Hamill, Oakwood Homes
Ralph Nagel, Top Rock, LLC, Dick Robinson, Robinson Dairy
Alex Cranberg, Aspect Holdings, LLC
Bob Martinez, Colorado Republican Party
Bruce Payne, Laramie Energy
Ron Williams, Gary-Williams Energy Corp
Peter Dea, Cirque Resources LP
Dick Monfort, Colorado Rockies
Norton Rainey, ACE Scholarships