Monday, August 15, 2016

Letter: Cutting Education Guts Our Middle-Class

Lack of vision by our present administration has set Wisconsin’s economy back on its heels. Believing in the misguided “trickle down” Republican philosophy, combined with voting in lockstep by our majority party, including Representative Quinn, has created a mess. An experienced and mature representative would not have voted for this budget. Wage and job growth is lagging behind the national average; the poverty rate has reached its highest level in 30 years; and we lead the nation in shrinkage of the middle class.

Radical cuts to our main economic engine - the University System - has been a huge contributor to our poor economic standing. UW colleges and universities exist In 39 Wisconsin communities. They provide good jobs and contribute to local economies. The UW System impacts our state economy to the tune of 15 billion dollars. Facts are facts. We need to grow our economy and cutting the university system does just the opposite - starving the goose that lays the golden egg harms our economy.

A gem in Wisconsin is UW Madison. It has connections with 218 companies, supports 9,300 jobs, and has brought over $1 billion in research funds to Wisconsin. It also holds over 1,600 patents that span every major industry. Research at our universities creates innovative ideas, that are commercialized in the private sector.

Under the current budget, UW Eau Claire was forced to cut 179 full-time employees, resulting in less money earned, reduced tax revenue, and less investment in the community. UW Barron County has also been forced to cut employees creating similar results.

Until now, our legislators have shared our pride in the UW system and supported it. We need legislators that share our belief that investing in education and research is wise for our future economic growth. Joe Huftel is that person in the 75th Assembly District. He has the right experience and is mature enough to stand up for the interests of the people rather than cow-towing to special interest groups.

Dee Taylor, Rice Lake