Supermajority Requirement Means Less Opportunity for Future Workers
The supermajority requirement has jeopardized the economic future of Washington state. Young adults, whether pursuing higher education or beginning their professional lives, are coming of age during a dismal economic reality – one that translates into lower-than-expected lifetime earnings and diminished careers. As young workers age, long-term reductions in income and well-being mean a future of less prosperity, limited economic growth, and a weakened middle class.
In the past, when young adults have struggled with a poor economy, the state has responded with sustained investments that encourage opportunity and a strong economy by adequately funding higher education, basic supports for lower-income working people and investments in public health. During the Great Recession, the supermajority requirement prevented the state from taking this normal course of action.
Young adults have paid the price.
- The average cost to attend college has risen 94 percent for students and families since 2007 at four-year institutions due to dramatic increases in tuition.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program in which nearly three out of five adults served are between ages 18 and 30, was cut by $127 million this past legislative special session.
- Cuts to the Basic Health Plan have cost some 66,000 lower- and moderate-income adults their health insurance. Young Washingtonians have been hit hard: 52 percent of those who lost coverage were age 39 or younger.
Our state’s young adults are facing higher barriers to care and more out-of-pocket costs, which could saddle them with high levels of debt for years to come. Young Washington state residents, who work hard and have played by the rules, see opportunity slipping away through higher tuition costs, fewer available work supports, and heightened fears of unanticipated health care expenses.
The supermajority law means a steeper climb to prosperity for our future small business owners, community leaders, middle class families and, consequently, all Washingtonians. To learn more about how the supermajority requirement harms our state economy, read our new policy brief here.