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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Feb 20, 2018

University cuts are bad for the economy

Feb 08, 2018

 

By State Senator Kevin Kinney

Iowans pride themselves on our state’s high-quality education, from preschool through college.

That’s why SF 2117, a Senate Republican proposal that cuts about $52 million, is so worrisome.

I do not support this funding cut, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote of 13-8.

This cut includes $19.3 million from our three state universities ($8.7 million from the UI, $6.9 million from ISU and $3.7 million from UNI).

Funding for the universities makes up only about 7 percent of the state budget, but they are facing a whopping 38.6 percent of all mid-year budget cuts proposed in SF 2117.

This is on top of the nearly $30 million in cuts they’ve already been hit with in recent months. SF 2117 would bring cuts to Iowa’s state universities up to nearly $50 million in just the last year, a reduction of almost 10 percent.

That would make 2018 funding for our state universities less than it was 20 years ago.

Our state universities serve as engines for growth by educating our workforce, advancing research and development, and providing businesses with services that help them grow and be innovative.

For example, the Legislature provided $8.7 million in funding for economic development, technology transfer and commercialization of research at our state universities in the current fiscal year.

This type of investment is key to keeping Iowa on the cutting edge.

Today, 66 percent of firms with employees are owned by Baby Boomers. With their retirement, it’s estimated that 75 percent of small companies will be for sale in the next five to 10 years. We count on Iowa, Iowa State and UNI to foster our next generation of entrepreneurs.

After years of budget shortfalls, we are already past the point where we can keep slashing without causing real harm to Iowans, our state and our future prosperity.

Cuts will have real consequences. Learn more in this Economic Development & Technology Transfer Report.

This is a legislative update from State Senator Kevin Kinney, representing Keokuk, Washington and Johnson counties. For bio, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/kinney.

To contact Senator Kinney when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise, he can be reached at 319-631-4667. E-mail him at kevin.kinney@legis.iowa.gov.

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