The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 30, 2013

DFL's need to spend hurts taxpayers


Since 2001, state higher education funding has been up-and-down. Today it's about where it was 10 years ago. Taking inflation into consideration, state funding has decreased by 25 percent. Meanwhile, cost of tuition has doubled.

An average year of tuition and fees at a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities school 10 years ago was $3,200. Today, the students pay more than $6,800. During that same period, tuition and fees at the University of Minnesota increased from $4,800 to more than $12,000, in excess of $13,000 including fees.

It’s time to examine exorbitant state employee (including college professors) retirement packages, essentially free health care and how administration\staffing levels have exploded. I would ask colleges to do their part in keeping tuition down and run a better business model.

A December 2012 Wall Street Journal Report [3] stated, “Like many public colleges, the University of Minnesota went on a spending spree over the past decade, paid for by a steady stream of state money and rising tuition. Officials didn't keep close tabs on their payroll as it swelled beyond 19,000 employees, nearly one for every 3.5 students.”

From the report: “Administrative employees make up an increasing share of the university's higher-paid people. The school employs 353 people earning more than $200,000 a year. That is up 57 percent from the inflation-adjusted pay equivalent in 2001. Among this $200,000-plus group, 81 today have administrative titles, versus 39 in 2001.” Hardly the doom and gloom starving beast of government that Slocum would like you to believe.

Instead of more money, government needs to work harder and smarter to prioritize spending. When the economy picks up, tax revenues increase and there is more money to be spent on roads, bridges, education and other government responsibilities. It is only the government (and Democrat college professors), and their insatiable need to spend more that believes killing the golden goose (driving the large taxpayers from our state) is worth it to continue paying for a failed (time and again) progressive agenda!

Lon Firchau lives in xx is a small business owner and vice chair of the Blue Earth County Republican Party. The electronic version of this story contains footnotes.




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