Tag Archives: universities

AG Mark Brnovich creates a ‘straw man’ for our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on higher ed funding

It was recently reported that “State support for students at Arizona’s three public universities has fallen by 53.8 percent since 2008, more than three times the national decline over the same period, according to a new report.” Arizona cuts to college student support still among steepest in nation:

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the Arizona cuts were the most extreme example of a national trend that has seen a total reduction in state aid of nearly $9 billion over the 10 years, as states scrambled to close budget gaps caused by the recession.

Despite efforts by states in recent years to reverse the trend – including in Arizona, where state support per student rose 4.25 percent last year – the report’s authors said they worry that those increases are slowing down.

“The clear majority of states have been reinvesting and that has been a broad trend over the past few years,” said Michael Mitchell, a senior policy analyst at the CBPP, in a call on the Wednesday report.

“But there are indications that we can see that this reinvestment is trailing off and the amount of reinvestment that we’ve seen over the past few years just hasn’t been enough to make up for the drastic magnitude of cuts over the time period we’re looking at,” he said.

Those cuts average 16 percent per student nationally since 2008, the report said.

Arizona’s 53.8 percent reduction was largest in the nation, with Louisiana next-closest with a 44.9 percent reduction. In terms of an actual dollar reduction, however, Arizona’s per-student cut of $3,450 was fourth-highest, behind Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama.

While the cuts have been partially offset by increases in federal aid – an average Pell grant grew 23 percent during the period – steady increases in tuition continue to make college unaffordable for many, according to the report.

“We have seen increases in federal student aid, but in states where tuition costs have increased rapidly those additional federal investments have not kept up with rising college costs,” Mitchell said. “The net cost of attendance has increased even for low-income students at four-year colleges.

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Why no state budget? Governor Ducey’s university bonding plan

This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:

Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.

He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.

Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.

But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.

Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.

“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”

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GOP cowards in the lege won’t come clean on $5 million for ‘Kochtopus’ indoctrination centers

Screenshot-19“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers

This Libertarian bullshit has also produced the “trickle down” Tea-Publican zombies in our state government, and this blog’s most infamous blog troll, the disgraced John Huppenthal aka “Thucky.” If there is a reason why this Libertarian bullshit should not be taught in public schools to infect the minds of impressionable youth, it is this blog troll. He is the poster boy.

The Arizona Republic reports, Legislators want millions for schools with Koch brother ties:

The Arizona Legislature, which has slashed university funding in recent years, could soon vote on a budget that would give the state’s higher-education system an additional $32 million.

But $5 million of it would come with strings attached. The budget would earmark that amount for so-called “freedom schools” [i.e., indoctrination centers] aimed at advancing free-enterprise ideals at Arizona State University and University of Arizona.

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The Save Our Students initiative is a weak half measure that will not achieve its goal

Doug Ducey, the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), has dictated that there “shall be no new taxes” on his watch.

DuceyClassroomsIl Duce has vowed to oppose any citizen initiated ballot measure that seeks to impose new taxes for education (ironic photo) during his term, and he will rely on “dark money” from his “Kochtopus” henchmen to do it.

An organization calling itself Save Our Students has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State for a citizens initiative to cap university tuition in Arizona to the cost of living increase from the previous year and to mandate the rate be guaranteed for four consecutive years. The measure also proposes to increase corporate taxes if the Legislature appropriates less to universities than it did in fiscal-year 2015 (why they would choose the nadir of university funding is a mystery to me). Click here for full text of initiative:  PDF.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Proposal to cap tuition gets frosty reception:

The Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey cut $99 million from the state’s three universities in fiscal-year 2016, leading to the regents’ decision to increase tuition and fees for the next school year. The spending reduction cut state aid to about $650 million, compared with nearly $1.1 billion eight years ago.

Most students attending Arizona public universities will see tuition and fee increases between 3 and 4 percent next fall.

Ducey’s spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato, said the governor has made it clear he does not support raising taxes. Ducey last month warned business groups in a private meeting against pursuing a ballot measure without his approval or he would fight it with dark money.

Katie Paquet, a regents’ spokeswoman, said they can’t take a position for or against the measure.  But she said it probably won’t keep tuition affordable or hold the Legislature’s feet to the fire, and it could have negative consequences.

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Still waiting for substance and details from Dicey Doug Ducey

rubio-dont-always-drink-waterI caught a “fluff piece” interview of Senator Marco “Big Gulp” Rubio by CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes on Monday evening about his new book, American Dreams — the obligatory presidential exploratory candidate pulp book– in which Sen. Rubio says that “Republicans haven’t been creative or innovative enough in offering solutions. “ Marco Rubio nears decision for 2016 presidential bid (video link).

“From the Republican perspective I think the answer to all these problems has historically been well let’s cuts taxes, let’s reduce the debt, and let’s get rid of some regulations, and that’s it, we’re done. But you just can’t stop there. You also have to address, for example, our higher education system, which is not just expensive, it is irrelevant in many instances to what people need in the 21st Century.”

An interesting perspective after earlier in the afternoon  listening to Arizona Governor Dicey Doug Ducey deliver his State of The State Speech to the Arizona legislature, in which he offered the same tired old conservative bromides of “let’s cuts taxes, let’s reduce the debt, and let’s get rid of some regulations, and that’s it, we’re done, ” of which Sen. Rubio disapproved.

I had expected much more from the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), now known as “Kochtopia.” I anticipated that he would go the full “Scott Walker,” as the governor of Wisconsin did four years ago. It would appear that Governor Ducey is not as well prepared or as politically ambitious as his fellow governor.

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