Governor wants to cut UI funding - again
By Scott Shelby
least it’s not all bad news this year. This year, the cuts are
not as deep, and the subtext indicates better economic prospects
in the near future. The Governor’s budget proposal last Wednesday
was focused on dealing with the state’s revenue shortfall with
decreased funding to state programs including education. The
difference this year is that these decreases in operating funds
are not accompanied by significant increases in new debt, which
seems to indicate that the governor sees better times ahead.
his annual budget address, Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed a
fiscal year 2005 budget that slashes $14 million from the
University of Illinois’ general funds over the fiscal year 2004
prominent among the governor’s comments Wednesday was a proposal
to close loopholes in the state tax code which allow large
corporations to sometimes escape paying any state income tax at
Blagojevich has been roundly criticized by Illinois business
groups for hurting job growth in the state by “raising” corporate
income taxes and increasing fees for filing documents with the
state. Taxes are not being increased for businesses; instead the
effective average tax rate (income tax paid divided by total
earnings) is increasing. In other words, businesses will pay more
tax because they will no longer be able to dodge the applicable
rate as they have in the past, not because the rate has
increased. Those with the privilege of doing business in our
state should realize that rights entail obligations, and such
privileges do not come free of charge.
the stricter income tax rules and higher fees drive businesses out
of the state, we will have lost free-riders who reap the benefits
of state-funded education, public health, and transportation
services without paying. No great loss. Most businesses are
unable to move in the short-term, as the products and services
they offer must be produced at their current location and it takes
time to set up shop somewhere else (the classic example is a
barber: how far would you travel for a haircut?). Most small
businesses will not be severely impacted by the new rules, which
target the yacht-buying set. Moreover, these closed loopholes and
increased fees are helping improve the state’s future prospects by
avoiding deeper cuts in education.
we cannot afford to adequately fund institutions of higher
education, where the next generation of corporate officers is
currently being trained, the quality of the state’s business
leaders will decline. In a budget year when our state’s
educational system is under the knife, the cries of suits from the
Loop because they must pay taxes for the first time do not worry
Corporate citizens enjoy the status of personhood under the law,
and have often escaped the full burden of citizenship in the
past. A corporation cannot be jailed for even the most perfidious
malfeasance. Corporations do not attend PTA meetings, volunteer
for the music boosters, or serve jury duty. Now the officers of
these companies are up in arms because their tax shelters are
being taken away and they are being asked to pay their fair share.
Students across nation Raise their Voice
By Jonathan Meyer
An expansion of
civic engagement, encouraging democracy, and developing community
service programs all tend to be viewed in a positive light
throughout society. However, in many cases these are just words
with no accompanying action. That may have been true at UIS,
until last Thursday.
On that day,
students and members of the community were able to participate in
a national teleconference. This was the first such teleconference
on civic engagement in history.
A number of Campus
Compacts helped develop the program. Michigan State University
hosted a forum which was then broadcast to the participating
colleges. Several professors, the President of Southwest Missouri
State University, graduate students and current students spoke in
the forum. This event was one part in a larger "Raise Your Voice:
Student Action for Change Campaign."
The impetus for the
panel discussion was The New Student Politics, a document
written by college students at the Wingspread Conference. The
Conference gathered students to discuss growing concerns about the
lack of political and community involvement among college students
and recent studies that point to a general apathy among 18-24 year
olds about civic life.
The panel took on
similar issues, including community service and volunteerism.
statements, one panelists suggested requiring volunteering as a
first step to getting college students to participate in the
community. Some members of the panel suggested that universities
begin to require community involvement as requirements for passing
classes. Some thought this would create "more well-rounded,
Others thought this
kind of service lacked the important learning connection and
reflection necessary to understand the greater issues.
teleconference, those from UIS discussed the issues presented in
In response to
requiring service hours at UIS, Capital Scholar Junior Carrie
Bauer said, "Community service should be something engaging that
you can immerse yourself in. It's a requirement for Capital
Scholars but often times, that's just something people show up
for, take care of their hours and forget about afterward."
The group came up
with four reasons that college students do not seem overly
interested in politics. The first was the apparent lack of
connection between politics and every day issues. If politics do
not affect students directly, they will continue with their lives
and not care.
Another reason was
student apathy. Junior Brace Clement explained, "I've been to a
lot of meetings and most people think their opinions don't
matter. They believe the people in charge will make the decisions
regardless of outside opinions. This is true even of on campus
activities. Often times, student feedback is listed at the very
bottom of the agenda. It's like the organizations are saying
'Okay, let's throw the students a bone just to keep them happy.'"
Junior Liz Moran
expressed agreement that student involvement in the community is
important, but also showed some reservation. "I'm concerned that
if we do require service, in a few years it'll become almost
paternalistic [...] students going out into the community thinking
‘We’re better. It's time to go out and help some inferior people
who care incapable of helping themselves.’”
the coordinator of UIS' Office of Student Volunteers and Service
Learning and coordinator of the event at UIS, said, "Civic
engagement is how you live your life, period."
The group hopes to
participate in the teleconference again next year. In parting,
they asked themselves how, on campus, can more students be
encouraged to participate in the local community.
"They need to find
out how their passion fits in with the community, and get excited
about that," said Cotterman.