Houghton, Lincoln students decry proposed higher ed. cuts

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Former State Rep. Tom Houghton

LOWER OXFORD — Former State Rep. Tom Houghton joined with the Lincoln University Student Government Association and nearly 100 students packed into the Student Union Theater on Lincoln University’s campus today to hold a press conference and rally against the drastic budget cuts proposed by Republican leadership in Harrisburg.

“If this Governor chooses to balance the budget on the backs of students here at Lincoln and across the state, we will begin to see the impact next fall,” Stephanie Rand, Lincoln University Student Government Association Vice President, said at the press conference. “This budget could force 40-50 Lincoln faculty and staff members out of a job, it could eliminate funds typically used for need-based scholarship funding, or even worse, it could drastically increase tuition, putting higher education out of reach for many of Lincoln’s students,” Rand said.

Pennsylvania’s universities and colleges are economic engines for our state. They educate our future work force and pour billions into our state’s economy.  Yet Gov. Corbett, Sen. Pileggi, and the rest of the Republican dominated legislature are proposing to cut funding for public universities in Pennsylvania by a massive 50 percent in the 2011-12 budget. At the same time, they have already given big corporations a $200 million tax break, with more on the way.

“What we are seeing out of this Administration is a war on poor, working/middle-class families! To announce corporate tax breaks and then call for massive cuts to education funding, all in the same week, is more than disturbing. It is cold and calculated,” Houghton said. “To accept over a million dollars in campaign contributions from ‘big oil and gas lobby’ interests, as did Gov. Corbett and Sen. Pileggi, and then give them a pass on the severance tax that we fought so hard for when I was in Harrisburg, is disgraceful.”

“Budgets are moral documents,” Houghton said.  “You really get a sense of how a Governor, a Representative or Senator feels about people – in what they propose in a budget. Budgets are also about priorities. Should there be cuts?  Of course. We have a constitutional requirement to balance the state budget and PA is in a big hole. But, should the Legislature make these cuts on the backs of the poor and working middle class?  Absolutely not.”

“If they want to wake a sleeping giant – in the form of every property owner struggling to keep their homes and every college student struggling to pay their tuition – go ahead and side with this Governor,” challenged Houghton. “If they do, they will see what happens at the polls in 2012.”

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