I’d hoped to write about a WSJ’s op-ed about the bloated spending at the U of M before this but that’s what happens when you’re recovering from surgery. This WSJ article says some things that can’t be overlooked. They must be put into context. Here’s an example:
Like many public colleges, the University of Minnesota went on a spending spree over the past decade, paid for by a steady stream of state money and rising tuition. Officials didn’t keep close tabs on their payroll as it swelled beyond 19,000 employees, nearly one for every 3½ students.
It’s important that we put this information in the proper political context, which I did in this post:
Higher Education Chairwoman Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said college and university funding is far from enough. “We are starving higher education,” she said.
Under the Senate targets, public education would get the most of $1.3 billion in new money: $498 million in the next two years. Following would be higher education ($296 million) and health and human services ($245 million). Other parts of the budget would get relatively insignificant increases considering the total state spending will top $34 billion over the next two years.
Pappas predicted existing plans to increase public college and university tuition about 4 percent each of the next two years may jump to twice that much.
At the time, a $296,000,000 increase for higher education represented an 11.3% increase. At the very time that the U of M’s spending was skyrocketing, DFL legislators like Sen. Pappas were complaining that higher education spending wasn’t enough.
In that environment, what incentive did the U of M lobbyists have in asking for more fiscally responsible spending increases?
Fast forward to 2013, where the DFL is attempting to create the image that they’re fiscally responsible. The people that spent like drunken sailors are attempting to tell Minnesota taxpayers that they’ll reject their past ways today.
When the final higher education budget is passed, let’s see how many reforms are included in it. Let’s see if the DFL eliminates funding for the U of M’s and MNSCU’s lobbyists. Let’s see if they’ll cap the amount of money universities can spend on Taj Majal buildings like the STSS on the U of M campus:
Here’s a glimpse at the inside of the STSS:
That’s a pretty lavish building for a university that’s getting starved by the legislature.