Saturday, November 21, 2009
Nixon Takes Credit Where No College Credit is Due
Tuition at Missouri’s public colleges and universities is not increasing thanks to fiscally responsible legislation passed by Republicans—not because of a supposed “deal” negotiated by Jay Nixon.
Jay Nixon has been cutting education funding since the first month he was in office—when he slashed millions of dollars intended for construction projects on campuses across the state. (Associated Press, January 28, 2009)
Now, Jay Nixon has announced an across-the-board 5% cut to Missouri’s higher education institutions. This amounts to tens of millions of dollars for our state’s public universities.
Although Nixon is taking credit for a supposed “deal” that prevents the universities from raising tuition, the truth is that most universities are legally barred from raising tuition thanks to Republican-passed legislation that holds increases to the Consumer Price Index (which was negative this year).
The bill (SB 389) was passed in 2007 on a largely party-line vote (91-64 in the House, 23-11 in the Senate).
Nixon strongly opposed the bill when it was passed. “Moreover, the so-called ‘tuition caps’ in Senate Bill 389 provide far more fuel for political sound-bytes than actual protection for students and their families.” Letter from Jay Nixon to Gov. Matt Blunt, May 22, 2007
Unfortunately, Nixon is attempting to take credit for Republican efforts to protect hard-working Missouri families—despite the fact that he opposed those same efforts 2 years ago.
Nixon invented this “deal” to distract the press from the real story—that he is slashing funding for higher education.
BACKGROUND: NIXON OPPOSES TUITION CAPS IN 2007
SB 389 Bill Summary: For institutions whose tuition is greater than the average tuition, the percent change in tuition cannot exceed the percent change of the consumer price index over the past year or zero, whichever is greater. For institutions whose tuition is less than the average tuition, the dollar increase in tuition cannot exceed the product of zero or the percent change in the consumer price index, whichever is greater, times the average tuition. If the tuition increase exceeds the limits set forth in this act, then such institution must remit to the board an amount equal to 5% of its current year state appropriation, which shall be deposited into the general revenue fund, unless the institution asks for a waiver within 30 days. (SB389 Bill Summary)
Jay Nixon drafted a letter to Gov. Matt Blunt opposing the tuition caps included in the bill. “Moreover, the so-called ‘tuition caps’ in Senate Bill 389 provide far more fuel for political sound-bytes than actual protection for students and their families.” (Letter from Jay Nixon to Gov. Matt Blunt, May 22, 2007)
During his campaign for governor, Jay Nixon claimed that “on higher education, Missouri is moving backwards” because “Missouri ranks ‘dead last’ in higher education funding increases since Blunt has been in office” and because “Missouri ranks 47th for per capita higher education funding.” (Jay Nixon for Governor fact sheet).
Now, Jay Nixon is cutting higher education even further.
at 9:30 AM