Christopher Rupley The Signal
Far-reaching changes in the Texas state budget have taken place since the deregulation of funding for higher education, leaving many students and parents with the burden associated with ever-rising tuition costs.
The financial burden facing Texas families began when Governor Rick Perry deregulated tuition in 2003 because of a deep political belief at the core of the Republican Party – less government, even when it comes to higher education. The deregulation of tuition gave each university the power to set tuition rates, and the rates have been rising ever since.
The tuition increases create a barrier of entry for many Texans.
Perry also rejected H.R. 1586, which would have allocated $830 million in federal funds to Texas schools from the federal emergency education jobs bill, because he claims that congress undermined Texas by requiring our lawmakers to violate the state constitution through putting one stipulation in the legislation: the funding must go to education.
Perry took offense to the fact that the federal government – Democratic congressman Lloyd Doggett, in particular – wanted him to spend the money solely on education. Congressman Doggett included this stipulation because the last time the federal government gave Texas money, Perry allotted a certain amount to education and simultaneously took the same amount out of education, ultimately rendering the entire transaction null and void.
The deregulation of tuition, coupled with the fact that Perry refused to accept the $830 million from the federal government, means that institutions of higher education have had to cut costs and raise revenue wherever they can. This translates into increased tuition and faculty layoffs.
Increased tuition and faculty layoffs are a burden to our state. This hampers education and ultimately deducts from the overall Gross State Product of Texas because we short the job market when fewer people graduate annually.
Texas now has a budget surplus of close to nine billion, but no funds have been allocated to restore the damage caused by previous budget cuts.
What do you think should be done with our state’s budget surplus?