Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Question for Mark Green

Any journalists out there who happen to read this blog, I have a suggestion for a question you can ask Mark Green at one of his campaign stops.

I have no doubt Green supports the legislation just signed into law by Governor Doyle that allows free UW and state tech college tuition for Wisconsin veterans.

But where does he stand on the funding question?

His party seems to support forcing the UW System to pay for the tuition waiver out of its existing budget, which has been depleted through a $250 million drop in state funding since 2003.

And the situation in the tech colleges isn't any better, as state funding to that system has decreased every year since 2000-2001, despite FTE enrollment increasing by 15% between that year at 2003-2004 alone.

Forcing the UW and tech colleges to fork over the cash for the waivers will inevitably lead to increased tuition for non-veteran students, just as state cuts to the UW and tech college systems have directly resulted in tuition increases over the past few years (although the tech colleges have been more successful at keeping tuition low because they have the ability to raise revenues directly through property taxes).

Most probably assume Green will back his party on the decision and oppose increasing funding for the waiver.

But, on the other hand, Green's party is also supposedly against any sort of unfunded state mandates. Granted, the tuition waiver is a worthwhile mandate -- but it's currently an unfunded one, nonetheless.

And on his campaign website, Green has an entire section devoted to how he has fought hard over the years to increase funding for veterans benefits, not force those benefits to come out of existing funding.

The website notes:

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From 1999 to 2006, with Mark's staunch support, spending on veterans has increased to record levels. Since he took office, funding for veterans medical care shot up by 66 percent. During the last appropriations season, Mark Green supported a VA budget that included $30 billion in funds specifically for health care services to veterans. While Mark has fought to rein in spending in Washington, he believes veterans were promised health care benefits when they agreed to risk their lives to protect our freedom. That's a promise Mark believes the government must keep.

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So how does Green feel about the funding of the tuition waiver? Does he think an increase in funding is warranted for the higher education expenses our veterans are now promised when they agree to risk their lives to protect our freedom?

5 Comments:

Blogger Captain Ron said...

Isn't it amazing all of the programs that have lost funding since 2003?? I have this fabulous idea....cut taxes, increase spending, and start a war. Fiscal conservatism went out the door when the Supreme Court elected our President.

I was fortunate enough to go through college when Clinton was in office. As far as funding the education for veterans, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the GI Bill is for? I guess we'll just start screwing more people out of an education. What about No Adult Left Behind??

June 01, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Thanks for your comment.

The thing about fiscal conservativism is that it hasn't existed in this country at all -- or at least not at the federal level (after WWII, that is). Even Reagan was a big spender, although conservatives have clouded his memory in a myth that he was fiscally frugal.

The GI bill provides a monthly stipend depending on the type and length of service. But even the largest stipend (awarded for at least three years of active duty) isn't enough to cover all tuition and fees, which is what the new law does.

June 01, 2006  
Blogger Jered said...

I often get confused with Mark Green's website as well. He has these ideas for making Wisconsin a better place to live, but doesn't explain where the money is going to come from. There will be no room for adding state funded programs if he gets the tax cap he's looking to impose on our government.

June 01, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

The hypocrisy does run deep. It's amazing how quickly Republicans forget what made Tommy such a popular governor.

June 01, 2006  
Blogger Andy said...

Mark Green doesn't give a damn about the UW System or a College Education. He's smart enough to realize that his base revels in its intellectual aversion and distaste for the betterment of society through education.

Fund this? Ha. The man has slashed financial aid every chance he got at the Federal Level. He's more than content to stick with his party, with its "leaders" like Suder and Kriebech who don't believe Tuition is high enough. I have no doubt that he wants to make a UW education so expensive that it prices out more students, leaving it as a poorer quality institution for the very richest. Why? Because UW students think, and when students think, they vote, and when they vote, they vote Democrat. 80-20 for Kerry at UW-Madison in 2004. Wealthier students, more Republican vote. It's a disgusting equation, and it certainly is no coincidence.

His support of this bill, under the guise of supporting veterans, is shameful. He is the definition of hypocrite.

June 05, 2006  

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