Maybe I’m too hard on the state folks because I see the hard work the local folks do; but it’s hard to escape the feeling that state legislators would prefer to get credit for cutting taxes and balancing their budget while making the local folks do the hard stuff; like cutting services or raising taxes locally to provide services mandated by the state or expected by constituents.
College tuition increase hearings by the state budget committee are another round in this. Seth Slabaugh, writing for the Muncie Star Press, has an article on Ball State’s President Jo Ann Gora pushing back a little bit against the state.
“Tuition is going up because the state’s share of the cost is going down, and in Ball State’s case it has gone down dramatically,” Gora said. “The point we’re trying to make here, and it may be the most important point that we make, is that tuition is not going up because our spending is out of control.”
We saw similar accusations when the State was balancing its budget on the backs of local government. Rather than acknowledge that fact, state lawmakers would accuse local government of being out of control with its spending.
Parents trying to send kids to college absolutely don’t want to hear that they have to pay more in tuition because State government has other priorities. State lawmakers likely don’t want their constituent parents to hear that either. So, they hold these hearings to hold college administrators’ feet to the fire a little bit. Probably nothing wrong with that, in and of itself; but we shouldn’t believe that state lawmakers aren’t contributing in a relatively direct way to these tuition increases.