Schoesler honored for key role in halting tuition hikes, preventing new farm-related tax

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9Sen. Mark Schoesler has been honored for his critical part in effectively freezing tuition at state-run colleges and blocking the return of a farm-related tax not seen in decades.

Schoesler, who has represented WSU’s main campus since 1993, received the Champion of Higher Education award from Washington State University’s associated student body. The Washington Auctioneers Association selected the veteran 9th District lawmaker for its Legislator of the Year award.

As leader of the state’s Republican senators and a longtime member of the Senate’s budget committee Schoesler was instrumental in crafting the state’s new two-year operating budget, which boosted funding for Washington’s public colleges and universities. The additional money allowed a 27-year streak of regular tuition increases to end.

Schoesler was honored for his devoted support of Washington students, particularly those at WSU, according to a representative of the WSU student body association – who added that students are “immensely grateful” for Schoesler’s “unwavering commitment to keeping tuition low” despite efforts by the governor and Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives to allow yet another round of tuition hikes.

The state’s auctioneers recognized Schoesler – a fulltime farmer away from the Capitol – primarily because of his efforts to prevent sales at farm auctions from again becoming subject to the state sales tax. Farm-auction sales have been tax-exempt since the 1940s; however, the governor and Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives pushed this year to repeal the exemption. The new budget Schoesler helped to craft allows farm-auction sales to remain tax-exempt.

“I was confident we could put a new state budget together without reaching deeper into the pockets of students and their families, or hitting farm families with a new tax at a time when they can least afford it. In the end we prevailed over those who seem to always put government first,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “I don’t go looking for recognition like this, but it’s a nice reminder that my priorities are in order.”