On Dec. 12, 17 Bellevue College students and Office of Student Legislative Affairs members will head to the Washington Budget Matters Conference, hosted at the Washington State Convention Center. The conference serves to bring together policy experts, advocates, officials, the media and members of the community to speak about a number of issues involving education, budget cuts and more.
The conference will address state tax revenues, public advisory votes, revenue trends, the operation of the tax system, revenue forecast, tax break reforms, economic recovery, investments in education and jobs, cuts of education and jobs, the growth of the middle class and more. Guest speakers at the event include Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Governor Jay Inslee and Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and outreach at Demos.
Kristin Velez, president of Washington Community and Technical College Student Association, attended last year’s conference and will attend this year’s as well.
“Washington state has seen a continuous disinvestment in higher education. It is one thing to say that we can’t cut the solution and need to fund higher education, but that still leaves many questions unanswered.
According to Velez, the more students, both from OSLA and the general BC population, that attend the conference, the more powerful students are.
Joy Hoang, OSLA’s community relations coordinator, will be attending the Budget Matters Conference for the first time this year, but she still recognizes the impact the issues have on the school and community.
“A lot of this has to do with budget and budget has to do with our tuition, our education and more. I feel like last year, students learned a lot about that and they walked away feeling more informed. They were able to see just exactly how money is divided up throughout the state,” said Hoang.