The Impact Of Tabor On Higher Education 

Both sides of the Question 4 debate spoke out today at separate rallies. They offered their opinions on how the so-called Tabor 2 will affect higher education.The first stop was Orono where members of the University of Maine student government voiced their concerns of what Tabor would mean there. Ben Goodman, a student senator at UMaine says he’s afraid of the consequences if Tabor passes on November 3rd. “Serious, serious cuts,” says Goodman, “I mean if you look at Colorado, the only state where Tabor has been implemented so far and you had Colorado in a pretty decent situation dropped to 49th in support of higher education.” Goodman quoted a Denver Post article that he says warns of the possibility of state universities in Colorado privatizing to save money. “You have got to look at Colorado State University, you have got to look at what came out in The Denver post this week, The Denver post article said CSU was seriously debating privatizing to raise revenue.” The Denver Post article sais if the privatization plan is implemented, “the change could mean CSU’s $4800 annual in-state tuition jumps to about $13,500 for liberal arts programs and as much as $20,000 for engineering programs.” The article also quotes the CFO of Colorado State as calling the idea of privitization a “last-resort contigency plan.” With much of the focus of the Tabor debate focused on the success of the spending cap in Colorado, supporters of Tabor invited Dr. William Moloney, the former Education Commissioner in Colorado, to speak at a rally in Bangor. “We’re also sensitive folks out in Colorado,” said Dr. Maloney, “when we heard scurrilous things that were being said about the state of education in Colorado schools were kind of being described as almost a disaster area post-tsunami.” Dr. Moloney says Tabor has had nothing to do with the finacial issues being endured by higher education in Colorado. “What’s having negative effects on higher education is the downturn in the economy.”Dr. Maloney also says politicians are afraid of the scrutiny the umbrella of Tabor would provide. “Any sort of constraint is troubling to them,” says Dr. Moloney, “and also there is a body of opinion in politics that somehow does not feel comfortable asking the voters what they think they would much rather do it behind closed doors in the capitol or if all fails go judge shopping and get a decision.” Rep. Cain says anyone who says they have not cut government spending in Maine is simply not telling the truth. “I challenge anyone who says we have not reigned in spending in the state of Maine to come spend a day with me in Augusta, come spend a day looking at the people, the families, the services, the responsibility of state government to meet the needs of its people and let me show you all the work we have done.” Rep. Cain says they have made strides in reducucing state government. “We’ve reduced the size of state government, the employees, we’ve increased efficiencies in state government, is there more work to be done? Yes but to say we have not lived up to that responsibility is not true.”The opposition to Tabor says the consequences of Tabor would be disastrous for the entire University of Maine system. Rep. Cain agrees with that notion. “I think if Tabor passes you’ll see the University of Maine system, the Maine Community College system, and Maine Maritime Academy significantly reduced in their capacity to serve the state of Maine from an economic perspective and from an educational perspective,” she says.A notion Moloney didmisses a scare tactics. “The scare stories still go on out there and anything no doubt the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has something to do with Tabor, if it wasn’t for Tabor we’d probably be sending more care packages to our troops, I mean it’s politics.”Voters will make the final decision in November.