My wife and I, like thousands of other Southwest Washington residents, work in Oregon. I have done so since 1998, and accordingly, I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in Oregon income taxes. Despite this fact, my daughter would not be eligible for an “in-state” tuition discount at some Oregon public universities because we live across the Columbia River.
Oregon is now looking at passing a “tuition equity” bill for undocumented or illegal immigrants (depending on one’s perspective), whereby undocumented, non-U.S. citizens living in Oregon would be eligible for in-state tuition. I am proud of my Latino heritage. My mother was from Guatemala; she worked hard and achieved U.S. citizenship. I am sensitive to the difficulties of immigration. However, it seems highly inequitable to me that my daughter, a U.S. citizen whose parents pay Oregon income taxes, would be denied the same rights Oregon is willing to grant non-U.S. citizens who may not even pay taxes.
If Oregon is really looking for tuition equity, then people who live across the Columbia and pay Oregon taxes should also be included in Oregon’s “in-state” offer for all universities in the state.
Please join me in encouraging our Washington state representatives to call attention to this important issue.