Editorial: State Legislature must come together to fund the UMN

It's crucial that the state invest in its future.

Daily Editorial Board

Last week, spending bills, which would affect how much funding the University of Minnesota gets from the state, passed at the Minnesota Legislature — but not without political division.

The House’s omnibus bill, which packages together multiple agendas for higher education, passed with a 77-53 vote. The bill recommends the University receive $22 million of $147.2 million that the school requested in its biennial budget.

The Senate’s version, also passed last week, would provide $29.6 million of the University’s request.

Gov. Mark Dayton told the Minnesota Daily last week that he would veto the current higher education bills — imploring state legislators to come closer to $96.8 million in state funding, which he recommendation for the University in January.

“With a healthy budget surplus, there’s no justification for not doing what we need to do for … areas like higher education, which is so critical to our future,” the governor told a Minnesota Daily reporter.

The budget request comes at a time when the potential tuition hike looms. President Eric Kaler said an increase could be in the works even if the school receives its full state request; University Government Relations Vice President Matt Kramer said the school would freeze its tuition for two years if it received at least $128.6 million in state funding.

With a more than $1 billion budget surplus, state legislators should see the benefit in investing in higher education.

We hope that, despite a Republican-controlled Legislature, lawmakers will come together and realize divesting from education is both ill-advised and myopic. There’s no justification for these cuts, and their ideological origins don’t match up with the real life needs of today and tomorrow’s students.