Higher Ed Advocacy Day set for March 5

MTA members are urged to come to Higher Education Advocacy Day at the State House on Tuesday, March 5, to support new revenues for public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

Educators should come to the fifth floor of the MTA office at 20 Ashburton Place between 9 and 10 a.m. From there they will go to the State House for a rally in Gardner Auditorium. Governor Deval Patrick is scheduled to speak at that event.

Following the rally, there will be meetings with individual legislators in which members will have an opportunity to let representatives and senators know how the chronic underfunding of public higher education has undermined efforts to deliver the highest-quality education to students.

Currently, Massachusetts’ state funding for public higher education is among the lowest in the country, while tuition and fees are among the highest. Governor Patrick has proposed increasing taxes and targeting new funds for education, from preschool through graduate school, as well as for transportation improvements. Under his plan, public higher education would receive:

  • Approximately $60 million in new funding for our campuses.
  • More than $100 million in new funding for student financial aid.

The governor also proposes the creation of a commission to look at the long-term funding needs of our public higher education system.

A second revenue proposal is also in play this year. The MTA is a member of the Campaign for Our Communities, a coalition that is backing a plan to increase the income tax but also increase the personal exemption to reduce the impact on low- and middle-income families and seniors.
Both proposals would raise about $2 billion a year when fully phased in.

“There is no guarantee that any tax increases will be approved,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “There are strong forces in the state pushing against these proposals. March 5 provides higher education faculty, staff and students with a chance to let legislators know how important it is to reinvest in public higher education.”