Higher Ed. budget cuts, don't shed too many tears - Texas Scorecard

“Institutions of higher education, like other state agencies, are looking for already lean budget areas they can take a knife to – a second time. They are charged by the state’s leadership with identifying an additional 2.5 percent in cuts in state General Revenue funding from their Fiscal Year 2011 budgets. And as they do, some higher ed officials are wondering just how much blood is left in that turnip,” reports the Texas Government Insider.

“Higher education has already contributed what The University of Texas System’s Barry McBee calls a “disproportionate share” of the previously instituted 5 percent cuts mandated in January. McBee, vice chancellor and chief governmental relations officer for the UT System, said higher education cuts amounted to 41.5 percent of the more than $1.25 billion in proposed General Revenue reductions throughout state government,” the report continued.

And, it’s all true. Texas colleges and universities have taken the brunt of the current spending reductions but, before you feel sorry for them let me remind you of this. Not only did big institutions such as UT and Texas Tech make the first round of 5% cuts from state coffers, they turned right around and passed significantly bigger budgets – and bragged about it!

Unlike most state institutions, higher education has the unique ability to raise user fees (call it tuition if you like) to not only make up the difference but to spend even more. And, that’s what they’ve been doing – well before there were any mandated cuts.

Higher Education spends, spends, and spends no matter what the Legislature allots them. So when you break out your school-logo emblazoned bandana to wipe away your tears, just remember that for the privilege of blowing into their logo, you paid them money too.

Robert Pratt is host of the top-rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com