Christopher J. Ortiz
We have all seen it coming. It was almost inevitable. Higher
education has been left out to dry when it comes to funding the
past two years. First budget cuts of $29 million two years ago and
then last year cuts totaled about $34 million. This year the Joint
Budget Committee is giving the recommended increase in tuition for
the next academic year of 40 percent – putting tuition at more than
$4,000 for in-state students.
CSU and higher education were placed on the chopping block. We
honestly feel neither the JBC nor the state legislature wants to
deprive colleges of state money. Their hands are tied by the
requirements of the state constitution and the Taxpayer’s Bill of
Rights, and they’re limited by the depleted state budget.
Higher education is the largest line item in the state’s budget
that is not protected by state statute or the state constitution,
so it becomes a sitting duck when budget cuts are forced.
By proposing a tuition increase of 40 percent in one year, the
state is denying higher education to many of its citizens. It is
doing a disservice to the voters and to the taxpayers.
TABOR must either be repealed or amended to release higher
education from its umbrella and allow the state to save money for a
We saw the storm two years ago, and we have been able to survive
thus far, but who knows if we can handle the clouds up ahead.