I guess health insurance for college employees is now considered pork.
Among Gov. Rick Perry’s flurry of vetoes last week, a $154 million cut in health insurance for community college faculty has stunned college leaders across the state and sent them scrambling to make up for the loss in already-tight budgets.
Though the cut won’t take effect until 2009, Texas’ 50 community colleges will probably start planning for the losses now, and could be forced to raise tuition or local property taxes, cut staff, or charge employees more for insurance, said Steven Johnson, director of external relations for the Texas Association of Community Colleges.
“It’s a big hit,” Johnson said.
In his written comments about the veto, Perry accused colleges of falsifying budget requests to get more money than they deserve, a charge that incensed college leaders and lawmakers. He said the state should cover insurance only for employees paid with state money, which excludes those paid with federal grants or funds from other sources.
Perry’s office did not return a call seeking clarification.
Johnson and McClendon say the funding equation was hashed out during countless hours of budget discussions. In fact, they said, an early version of Perry’s own proposed budget included the health insurance money.
This really is bizarre. Perry can’t even point to this as being a pet pork project of specific campus. He’s hitting all community colleges at once. What is he thinking?
This is the person who wants the state to issue a bond for $3 billion to fund cancer research. Where does he think he’s going to get the people to do the research, import from out of state?
This is the person who wants to provide voters with some sort of property tax relief. Where does he think the community colleges are going to get the money to make up for the cuts–the good fairy?
I guess Perry is really going to need more money for his statewide
business slush economic development incentive fund. Any company that requires high skilled labor will be able to use the money to move qualified workers in from out of state.