April 1, 2008

Racine one of 15 counties to benefit from Mason bill, state says

Racine County would be one of 15 counties to benefit from Rep. Cory Mason's proposal to boost funding at technical colleges to address unemployment, according to a state fiscal estimate.

The $10 million grant program (AB947) is limited to communities with unemployment rates at 125% or more than the national unemployment rate. Money could be used by technical colleges, including Gateway, to recruit students and expand programs. Fifteen counties and six cities could apply for the funds, according to the estimate.

Students without high school diplomas could attend technical colleges for free under the proposal.

The annual $10 million program would come from state funds. It's designed to offset any property tax increases at the local level, but would have an impact on administrative costs at the state level, according to the fiscal estimate, which was completed on March 21. The overal financial impact is listed as "indeterminate."

Mason introduced the proposal on March 4. Mason, D-Racine, is the former lobbyist political director for the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, a union that represents technical college teachers.

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