[Vision2020] Fwd: House Kills Higher Education budget

Ron Force ronforce at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 18:34:15 PDT 2020

House kills higher education budget on 32-37 vote

   - Posted by Betsy <https://www.idahopress.com/users/profile/brussell>
   - Mar 9, 2020 Updated 2 hrs ago

   - e <https://www.idahopress.com/content/tncms/live/#>

After a long and passionate debate on both sides, the House has killed the
higher education budget on a 32-37 vote; that's the bill that funds Idaho's
four-year public colleges and universities. The rejection of the budget
bill, HB 603, means JFAC will have to reconvene and write a new higher ed
budget, unless the House reconsiders its vote. As budget bills typically
take two weeks to process after they're set by the joint committee, that
means the move could extend the legislative session beyond the March 20
sine die adjournment goal. Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, who debated
twice against the budget bill, said the move would be worth it even if the
new version of the budget is just $1,000 less. The budget showed an
increase in state general funds of just 0.3%.
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “I think the problem is
curriculum, and the bureaucracy that is moving that curriculum. … We’re
talking about equity and inclusion instead of readin’, writin’ and
‘rithmetic. Why is it that university towns, every time they’re polled,
show a socialist bent? It has to come from those that are teaching the
curriculum.”“So the whole bureaucracy itself in my mind has already turned
left,” Barbieri said, “and we’ve gotta figure out a way to stop
rubber-stamping these budgets and begin to send a message that we do have a
say in what’s taught and we do have a say on who they’rehiring, for what
purposes they’re hiring’ em. That’s my problem.”Rep. Tammy Nichols,
R-Middleton, said, “Our tuition costs continue to go up and the quality of
education I’m afraid is continuing to go the opposite direction. I don’t
feel that this is an appropriate way to be utilizing the funds of the
taxpayers, to fund things that we have concerns with.”All four of Idaho’s
four-year college and university presidents have joined together to freeze
in-state tuition for the next year; that was announced before the budget
was set by JFAC.“I guess I am a little discouraged by some of the
commentary that I’ve heard today,” said Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise.
“These schools are doing exceptional work with our students. … Thinnk about
the students and how they will be harmed if we shoot down this budget.”
*Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for
the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at

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