Students of public higher education, already reeling from tuition and fee increases this year, can expect more of the same this Fall.

As the Baker Administration and state lawmakers prepare to grapple with a budget for the fiscal year that begins July1st, one thing appears likely, the cost of attending UMASS Dartmouth and Bristol Community College is going up again.  The five campus UMASS system implemented a 5.8 percent tuition increase for the current school year and more of the same may be in store.

The Baker Administration's $40 billion dollar FY-18 budget calls for a total $3.5 million dollar increase for UMASS, far less than the $30 million dollar increase being sought by UMASS President Marty Meehan.  Meehan says an additional $16.6 million dollars is needed to cover the state's share of contractual agreements that have been negotiated.  He says without the money a tuition increase and $30 million dollars in cuts to the core education offerings would result.  The community college system does not fare much better.

The administration says controlling the budget-busting MassHealth program makes additional contributions unlikely at this time.  In addition, lawmakers and the administration are reluctant to discuss new broad based taxes, since constituents are still smarting over constitutional officers, legislators and justices just getting hefty pay increases.  And, there remains a budget gap of about $600 million dollars for the current fiscal year that must yet be retired.

Voters next year will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment creating a 4% percent surtax on millionaires that could be dedicated to education and road and bridge repairs.  Hey, nothing like a little class warfare to refocus attention from a swamp full of greedy politicians who just stuffed their pockets full of your money while telling you there is not enough in the till to avoid raping your bank account and mortgaging your kid's futures.

Oh, by the way, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren for all of the help with reducing student debt....NOT!

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.




More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420