Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bachmann wrong on higher education...again

On the heels of voting "nay" again, Congresswoman Bachmann attempted to deflect criticism on her vote against college students.

The SC Times reports:

“Unfortunately, this bill does nothing to help lower-income students pay for the skyrocketing cost of college tuition,” Bachmann said in a statement.

“Instead, the Democrats put forth a bill that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars for a one-time, six-month window for those who have already graduated and presumably (are) employed,” said the Republican from the 6th Congressional District.

“As a mother of five, I’m in favor of solving the problem of out-of-control tuition increases, not simply continuing to throw more money at a broken system without any accountability,” Bachmann said.

Seems like Bachmann is trying to paint herself as a champion for low income students, on the side of working and middle class Minnesotan's.

Her voting record in the Minnesota Senate reflects something different.

In 2003, then Senator Bachmann voted against SF 1511, the Higher Education Finance Omnibus Bill. This bill did gut higher education in Minnesota, however it was significantly better than the Governor's proposal. The Senate File cut 8% from the base, whereas the Governor and GOP's response was a 15% cut. The GOP plan would have hurt more low income students.

In 2004, then Senator Bachmann voted against the Bonding Bill. The impact on our college students, while significantly less than in other areas, is still felt. For a tried and true conservative like Bachmann to espouse "fiscal responsiblity and accountability" failing to fund HEAPR (Higher Educaiton Asset Protection and Rehabilitation) puts the burden for funding on the backs of students.

While a bill did not pass in 2004, they finally got it done in 2005, costing Minnesotans nearly $20 million in inflation costs.

In 2006, then Senator Bachmann voted against SF 3058, a bill making policy revisions in higher education. What was in SF 3058?

A provision for funding adjustments for the MnSCU and U of M systems, based on enrollment. In other words, if you have more students, we will give you more money. If you have less students, we will give you less money. Simple concept.

The Minnesota Dream Act.

A provision for Minnesota Seniors to attend a college class for free if space is available.

A study on the practices of the textbook industry and the impact of predatory pricing measures in the textbook industry.

A task force to determine the impact of U of M ag products on MN farmers.

Bachmann voted against all of this.

In addition to that, she voted against the bonding bill again.

While Congresswoman Bachmann likes to posit herself as a friend of higher education, a watchdog per se, her voting record has consistently shown she is not an advocate for affordable, accessible and quality public higher education.

I bet her alma mater, Winona State, is proud.

No comments: