Monday, December 21, 2009

Higher Education Suffers Under Weight of Budget Cuts


Governor Mitch Daniels, in addition to requesting cuts in K-12 education budgets, has asked the seven post-secondary institutions to also cut their budgets to the quick. Sunday, according to WIBC, Indiana University said that everything from athletics to majors was on the table.

Let's go back to this past summer. When Indiana, Indiana State, and Purdue tried to raise tuition, who cried? The Republicans did...under the leadership of Luke Kenley and Mitch Daniels. Kenley held hearings forcing the schools to testify why they would need to raise tutition. He even tried to withhold their funding for building projects.

Again, this is the pattern of Governor Daniels and the Republicans. Colleges need money to operate, so when the colleges tried to raise the tuition, they ran afoul of Republicans in state government and told they could not without facing consequences. K-12 used to be able to get money from levying property taxes. Rather than fixing that system, the Governor and his Republican caucus in the Senate decided to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Not wanting to rock the boat and smarting from some shots by the Guv across their bow, the Democrats caved and this new mess passed. No more would the more stable property taxes fund education. Instead, sales tax and other state revenue taxes more susceptible to a poor economic climate took over. Well, here we now stand.

Little by little, public education is being choked out by the Governor and many Republicans in the General Assembly at all levels, K-12 and post secondary. I ask again, where did that $1 billion Mitch wanted and required to be preserved in the budget go? Who did it go to? What was it used for? Why weren't we told it was gone? Did it go to one of your "trade missions" to Asia? Maybe a couple of fill-ups in the RV-1 tank? I dunno. I'm not saying anything untoward happened here, but inquiring minds do want to know.

I guess the point is...it's not here, and his Mitchiness not telling us where it went. Governor Daniels and the Republicans will never probably be asked these questions. Some Democrats have some fault in this, too. Several of the Dems helped pass this budget that clearly wasn't worth the paper on which it was printed.

Now, we're all...well...I have a strong term, but this is a family blog.

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