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Editorial

Time to repair the University budget

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February 17, 2011

UW-River Falls faculty, staff and students have been protesting for the past several days against Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill. The impetus for the bill is the state budget deficit of $136.7 million dollars.

In an effort to reduce the deficit, the bill would make all state employees— UWRF faculty and staff included— pay more into their pensions and health care premiums.  The bill would also take away the right to collective bargain, something UWRF faculty are close to securing.

Walker has stated that if the bill didn’t pass more than 1,500 state government employees would be laid off. 

Whether the bill dies in the state legislature our passes, Governor Walker is sending a clear message. Everyone needs to make sacrifices to steer Wisconsin onto the road of financial recovery.

Hopefully when Governor Walker releases the 2011-13 biennial budget Tuesday, the top income earners in the state will also share the burden too in the form of a tax increase on their income.

Regardless, the budget deficit is projected to only increase in the coming years.  By 2013, the budget is expected to inflate to $3.6 billion.  Productive action can be taken to help make the state’s budget solvent. Not just by the rich and state and public employees, but students can help in the concerted effort to cut state spending.

Nearly all institutions and businesses spend money on things that may be frivolous or inefficient, and UWRF is not exempt. The administration is already doing things to save money, such as urging departments to use fast copy for printing.  D2L is also the preferred method for handing out course work and syllabi. 

Even though the administration is making an effort to cut spending, they don’t notice everything and the perceptions are skewed by their age, position and background.

The nearly 7,000 students on campus may notice other ways in which money can be saved and so we call on the Student Senate to carry the torch and lead the way.

The Senate is in a unique position: it is the receptacle of student input; it exerts true power and leadership.

The one problem that the Senate is up against is getting students to express their opinions and ideas about ways the university can save money. The senators have offices that are open to the campus community.  There needs to be open dialogue in order for true change to happen.

Once the problems are identified, the Senate can write and pass proposals that have the potential to carry true weight.