Editorial: Legislature should approve proposed fiscal increase for University

Daily Editorial Board

Every year, the University of Minnesota makes a request for the money it will need to function for the following year. After receiving the request, the governor issues a secondary recommendation to the Minnesota Legislature regarding the amount of money the University should receive. This year, Gov. Mark Dayton exceeded University expectations by requesting $60 million more that the original University pitch. This is part of an overall public work package, valued at over $1 billion, that Dayton has planned in his last year as governor of Minnesota. Although the Minnesota Legislature still has to approve the final funding, we thoroughly support this request by Dayton.

There are several regions of expenditure needed. First, the increase in funding could be spent toward stabilizing tuition for students in future years. Given the rising concerns over tuition hikes, this would provide necessary relief and security to the student body. Second, the funding could cover many resources on campus that have threatened to shut down due to funding issues. Earlier this year, a daycare center announced the plan to shutter its doors. Finally, the cost for the maintenance of various campus buildings could be offset by the additional availability of funds. 

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Legislature still has to approve the final funding for the bill and has, in years past, severely undercut funding requests coming from the governor. Republicans still control both the House and the Senate in this busy legislative session that started Tuesday, which has spelled disaster for University funding in past years. This year, it has been made known by Republican leaders in the House and Senate that the overall billion dollar bonding bill would not be fully funded, pointing toward increasing needs for maintaining infrastructure, among other things. 

We hope that Republican legislators will consider funding a more substantial proportion of Dayton’s request than in years past, given the direct benefits to the University that increased funding would provide. Part of the funding would most likely to go toward projects that cannot be avoided, such as increased maintenance costs on buildings that continue to age. Ultimately, it’s important to fund our University. In order for it to remain a beacon of education, we highly recommend the Minnesota Legislature approve these budget allocations by Governor Dayton.