Tax-Cutting Activists Threaten Community College Budgets

Jaime Dalbke

Okay, we’re not going to take sides in this argument. We only want to relate some news that was recently reported in USA Today.

In that article, “Will Tea Party groups threaten community college funding?” reporter David Moltz writes “As if the recession had not given community college advocates enough to worry about, some fear that the anti-tax sentiment stirred by Tea Party activists could endanger their federal, state and local funding.”

Here are two points that Moltz makes:

  • Community college expenses are not always paid for directly by taxes. A group of Tea Party activists in New Jersey is not happy that Warren County Community College in New Jersey is planning to open up a satellite campus to accommodate the institution's growing enrollment. Yet if plans move ahead, half of the $7.3 for the project would be paid from an existing pool of state funds that are earmarked for education – and the other half from sales of a bond. There are also plans to lease campus space to commercial tenants. The result? A new campus for nearly no new taxes.
  • Community colleges are providing a critical service to citizens. They offer one of the few cost-effective options for students who don’t want to pay tens of thousands of dollars in yearly tuition.

Fiscal responsibility is fine – we all have budgets to balance. But won’t imperiling community colleges only put students into a bigger squeeze?


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