By Rob Roper
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist recently announced her plan to offer “free” college education for low income Vermont students. Only, the plan is not free for Vermont property taxpayers.
Although Hallquist’s long term funding plan includes a vague hope that savings from reducing Vermont’s prison population can be applied to tuition subsidies, the short-term funding plan, according to reporting by VT Digger, refers to S.231, a bill championed by Progressives in the last legislative session.
S.231 says: “An amount of $30 million shall be appropriated and transferred from the Education Fund to the Fund. For each subsequent fiscal 20 year, the amount appropriated and transferred under this subdivision shall be increased over the fiscal year 2020.”
This, of course, means that property taxes will have to increase by $30 million, or K-12 education will have to be cut by that amount. Not likely in a Hallquist administration working with Progressives in the house and senate to pass this program.
Hallquist also suggested tax hikes for tobacco and alcohol could be used to subsidize the new program.
Hallquist noted (again, thanks Digger) that, “the cost of higher education has skyrocketed since she attended college at the end of the 1970s. Overall, the price of obtaining a college education in America is 1,100 percent higher than it was in 1978.” True. But why is this the case?
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson championed the Higher Education Act as part of his Great Society, to “strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary education.” Sounds great. At the time the total average tuition and room and board for private four year colleges was $1,907 – in today’s dollars! Today, at UVM those costs are $32,000 for in-state students.
This is what happens when government gets involved to make things “more affordable” for average citizens. They’re from the government, and they’re here to help. No thanks.