House panel calls for cuts
J. Fitzgibbons, Chronicle staff
he proposed $21.8 billion Fiscal 2003 budget
released last week by the House Ways and Means Committee calls for
reducing funding for public higher education by $87 million or 8
The plan outlined by
Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood), who chairs the committee, calls for
an appropriation of $434,789,000 for the university system, a reduction
of $25.8 million or 5.6 percent.
The budget plan also
slashed funding for the nine state colleges by $23.8 million or
11 percent. The 15-school community college system faces a $24.3
million cut, a 10 percent reduction.
Two separate line items
for the University -- Commonwealth College and the Toxic Use Reduction
Institute at the Lowell campus -- were each reduced by 5 percent
from current levels or approximately $86,000 apiece in the Rogers
The Ways and Means Committee
did not include any funding for the endowed faculty chair program
or the library materials reserve.
The report also recommend
level-funding the Star Store project at the Dartmouth campus at
$2.43 million and reduces a reserve for the Advanced Technology
Center in Fall River to $816,720, some $300,000 less than current
The plan also calls
for trimming scholarship programs by 18.5 percent or $17 million.
Meanwhile, House members
are considering a range of possible tax increases which could generate
as much as $1 billion into state coffers.
According to many observers,
representatives are leaning towards freezing the income tax rate
at 5.3 percent, boosting cigarette taxes, hiking the capital gains
tax and repealing a deduction for charitable contributions.