Tom Corbett, current GOP Governor of Pennsylvania and president of the greater Philadelphia area Leslie Nielsen Hair Club for Men, has proposed to cut statewide funding for higher education by approximately fifty percent by the beginning of next term. The budget proposal also seeks a drastic increase in funds for state penitentiaries in what a spokesperson for the Governor has coined the “Pennies for Prisoners” initiative.
The proposal, which is expected to receive little resistance on its way to being approved, leaves some state university administrators wondering how the budget cuts will manifest themselves over the coming months and years. As state higher education funding has been slowly dwindling up to this point, some schools have already had to resort to some less-than-traditional cost cutting measures including: cutting electricity during the day when it is used most, burning library books and periodicals in an effort to save on fuel, and not offering classes.
Corbett has gone on to say that he plans to annually reduce higher education funding by half in a measure truly worthy of Zeno; like one of Zeno’s paradoxes too, universities are not expected to catch up. The expected success of this program has other states looking to enact similar budget reductions, which may lead to a national average increase in college tuition by up to twenty-five percent.
When asked how a reported additional $13.7 million found its way into one of Corbett’s private bank accounts the Governor self-assuredly replied, “Well, I guess it’s a good thing that students in this country don’t vote.”