Caplis and Silverman Show, Tom Massey, April 24, 2012

Station:   630 AM, KHOW

Show:     Caplis and Silverman

Guest:     Massey


Date:      April 24, 2012

Topics:    ASSET, Illegal Aliens, Undocumented Immigrants, Instate Tuition, House Education Committee, House Finance Committee, Appropriations

Click Here for Audio


[ beginning at 33:35]

DAN CAPLIS:  Representative Tom Massey, kind enough to join us.  We sure do appreciate that.  He’s Chair of the House Education Committee.  Representative Massey a proud Republican, and he switched his vote last night in favor of this bill that would allow lower tuition rates – really, just kind of a bit more than in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements.  So Representative, appreciate you being with us and tell the folks if you would, why you did this and where you think this bill will go.

TOM MASSEY (State Representative-district 60):  Well, I can tell you that the bill is routed from the House Education Committee will go next to the House Finance committee, so it will get a second hearing, and then should it be successful in that it will go to Appropriations.  And quite honestly, the reason I supported it this year is after considerable research and seeing the re-craft of this bill and seeing what, you know, other states around us have done, and looking at population demographics and the like, you know, I just felt like it was the right thing to do at the right time.

CRAIG SILVERMAN:  Sure, it’s a complicated issue.  But Mitt Romney, who appears to be the Republican standard bearer, he took Rick Perry to task for a similar position in Texas.  What would you say to Governor Romney and other people who would say, “Hey, aren’t you incentivizing people to break the law and come to Colorado?”  How can this not be an incentive?

MASSEY:  I think the other states we’ve seen have not seen that to prove true.  I think that data supports that immigration is somewhat fixed and it’s really based on economic concerns – the job market, more than the offer of an education.  And  you know, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this education, by the time you back out the state stipend, which is the College Opportunity Fund, these students have no access to either federal or state grants.  So they basically are having to cash out a college education.  So how many… I mean, look at how really small the population is that’s truly going to be able to afford that, for one thing.  And then all the other things… like return on investment, the fact that these kids have been in our system for a number of years – a minimum of three years  in our Colorado high schools and graduated with either a diploma or a GED.  We’ve got a minimum of you know, at least 20,000 dollars invested in their education, most likely significantly more.  Some of these kids are the best and brightest.  And how fair is it to say that we’re going to send you through K to twelve education, but that’s the end of the line.  We’re going to relegate you to a lower paying job with no future.

CAPLIS:  Sure …

MASSEY:  So … any number of reasons.

CAPLIS:  And I think you’ve articulated a lot of good reasons for a bill like this.  And I think there are a lot more good reasons for a bill like this.  There are a couple fundamental concerns, though, that I wonder whether they couldn’t be addressed, because it seems like they could.  One is, couldn’t you just stick in a provision that says, “Okay, this just applies to kids who are here now.”  And that way you’re not encouraging people to come here illegally.  And the other thing is, could you throw in a provision that says children who are here legally have priority in terms of admission to those universities that are real hard to get into.

MASSEY:  Theoretically yes, you could,  particularly from the standpoint of  admission index.  But, you know, quite honestly, if these kids do qualify based on an admission index, which we use in Colorado for our highly selective schools, would you deny them access?  I mean …

SILVERMAN:  Well, but you’re …

MASSEY:  … I don’t know that we’re filling all the slots.

SILVERMAN:  Right, but then there are  Colorado kids on the bubble who get pushed off the bubble.  So you have a Colorado kid whose parents are lawful citizens of Colorado and the United States, and their kids lose the spot to these other people.

MASSEY:  Yeah, and that sounds good in theory, but I’m going to bet that the predominance of these kids are actually going to enroll in community colleges, which are significantly more affordable, again, because of the economic concerns, and most of those schools are not selective admission, and they’re not turning away Colorado kids for admittance.  So, in theory, I’d say yes, that sounds sound but in practicality I’d say that most of these kids are going to community college.

CAPLIS:  Well, and I’ve no doubt that there are some fantastic kids who fall into this category and I think it’s just a matter of coming up with the right solution that addresses all of these concerns.  But representative Massey, great of you to come on the show today, sure do appreciate it.

MASSEY:  You bet.

CAPLIS:  Thank you, sir!  Have a good afternoon!

MASSEY:  Thank you so much.  Bye-bye.

CAPLIS:  All right.  And Speaker of the House Frank McNulty will join us after the break on this.  The GOP has largely opposed this bill as drafted, and Representative Massey, Chair of the House Education Committee broke ranks on that.  Alex Cranberg, highly respected, you know, very active, big GOP supporter has come out in favor of the bill, as well as Dick Monfort.  We’ll have a full discussion of it after we talk to the Speaker of the House, Frank McNulty, after the break, on KHOW.