And lawmakers are faced with the same dilemma as college students: the money coming in is less than the money going out, debt is piling up and tough choices need to be made about when and where to make investments that will pay off in the future.
Dayton’s budget increases higher education funding by a larger percentage than any other part of the state budget, which is facing a shortfall of $1.1 billion even with no additional spending initiatives. The Democratic governor’s solution is a spectrum of tax hikes ranging from increased income taxes for wealthier Minnesotans to a broadening of the sales tax to services.
“His thinking is we do have to raise some revenue,” said Pogemiller, who thinks the Democratic-controlled Legislature will agree even if they disagree about the types of taxes to increase.
And he’s hopeful that much of the increase for college students and colleges will survive in competition with other spending priorities of lawmakers.
“This is a long-term investment in our economy and human capital,” said Pogemiller, noting that the money for institutions is tightly aimed at research, tuition freezes, equipment upgrades and development of internship/apprenticeship programs for students. “He’s not just trying to grow institutions.”