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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Here's a good example of a state governor - Ohio's - facing down a budget deficit and maintaining state funding for higher ed next year, along with his long-term plans. Here in California we should be so lucky.

The key quotation:

[Gov. Strickland] did not recommend any cuts in the nearly $2.38-billion that colleges are receiving from the state this year, an amount that represents a 7.7-percent increase over the previous fiscal year. The governor also proposed continuing to finance a statewide freeze on tuition that has been in effect for two years.

"In my judgment, higher education had been the budget whipping boy for far too long," he says. "It was time to keep faith with higher education."

Amazing! Higher ed is obviously a crucial long-term investment. It's also economically countercyclical in the short term. In the early 1930s, Hoover, Mellon and the other laissez-faire folks running the federal government watched consumption drop, profits decline, workforces shrink (in response to falling profits), and consumption drop even further as people lost their jobs. We're again learning a lot of New Deal lessons about the stabilizing (and constructive) effects of government action and investment. I hope in California we can follow Ohio's lead and learn them before another 2-3 year cycle of cuts (potentially our second 15-25% drop just in this decade), damages UC and CSU all over again.