MADISON, Wis. — Jar Jar Binks ranks among the most reviled characters in the Star Wars movie series universe. Inspired by the latest installment in the Star Wars saga, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross suggested Rep. Adam Jarchow has earned the moniker “Jar Jar Banks” for choosing banks over borrowers with his opposition to common sense, state based legislation to help reduce the burden of student loan debt. Jarchow is currently running for the 10th Senate District.
“Jar Jar Binks was a horrible character, one of the biggest mistakes of the Star Wars franchise, and well deserving of all the jeers directed its way,” commented Ross. “And ‘Jar Jar’ Banks’ Jarchow deserves rotten tomatoes for his opposition to a common sense, state based solution to help Wisconsin student loan borrowers refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.”
According to the most recent annual study from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), over two-thirds, or 67 percent, of the class of 2016 graduates in Wisconsin left school with an average student loan debt of $30,059. Nationally, Wisconsin places sixth for percentage of graduates with debt and seventeenth highest for the average amount of debt.
The “Snapshot on Student Debt” from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, based on consumer information compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, pegged Wisconsin borrowers’ share of the $1.4 trillion-plus student loan debt held nationally in 2016 at $24.4 billion. Earlier figures from the federal government reported there were nearly one million borrowers in the state with federal student loans alone.
In every session of the legislature in which Rep. Jarchow has participated, the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act has been introduced. And in every session Jarchow has voted against allowing its consideration. The proposal would create a state based authority to help student loan borrowers refinance their loans at lower interest rates, just like you can with a mortgage.
A poll of 1,116 registered Wisconsin voters conducted by Public Policy Polling in late 2017 found an overwhelming 79 percent supported “a plan to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.” A mere 9 percent were opposed. Support was strong across all age demographics, including 87 percent of voters age 45-65 and 77 percent of voters age 65 plus.
He concluded, “While Jar Jar Binks was a ridiculous character in a fantasy movie, the crisis of student loan debt in Wisconsin is all too real. It’s time for ‘Jar Jar Banks’ Jarchow to stop living in a fantasy world and start helping the hard working student loan borrowers of Wisconsin.”