State Senator Daylin Leach alleges state Representative Brendan Boyle stole his idea.
Leach proposed a bill on Aug. 7 that would allow in-state students to attend public universities without paying any tuition up front and won't accumulate any interest. On Sunday, Boyle announced a bill that would gather a legislative committee to analyze his plan to eliminate tuition at the state's public universities.
"We did it and he's saying the exact same thing," Aren Platt, Leach's campaign spokesman, told Metro Monday. "There's similar language … not only is it named the same thing, there's similar language so rather than sign-on to Sen. Leach's bill which is almost the same except for some minor things I'm sure could be worked out, he's introducing his own bill and pretending that it's his."
Boyle said it is "very petty" to play the "We did it first little game."
"I hate to burst Daylin's bubble," Boyle told Metro, "But I'm certainly not looking to him for ideas to implement, and perhaps he's not aware but the 'Pay it Forward' concept has been around for quite some time."
Leach's bill, called “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back," would create a public pool of money from which qualified students could draw to fund their education with no money down. After graduating and joining the workforce, the students would pay around 4 percent of their monthly income toward the pool interest free.
Boyle's “Pay It Forward” plan would forgo tuition at public colleges by collecting a portion of students’ postgraduate earnings over a set period of time. Pay It Forward would operate as a trust fund for public higher education, according to a news release. The program would initially be financed by seed money that would sustain it while the pool of graduates paying into the trust fund expanded to a level that would make it self sufficient.
Both Boyle and Senator Daylin Leach are running for Congress in the 13th District to replace Allyson Schwartz.
"I know he's been saying he's been working on this for months but in a world where everything is on the internet and everything is time-stamped it's a little hard to say that if you have no evidence (that Leach had the idea first)," Platt said. "And we have lots of evidence."
Boyle explained the the 'Pay it Forward' concept has been around for "quite some time," he said.
"Half a dozen states have either passed it or are considering it. Oregon was the first to pass it, New Jersey, Washington and a couple others are looking at it as well," he said. "My legislation is modeled off of what Oregon did, it's modeled precisely."