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.