VI: Well, the budget cut almost a billion dollars from the University system. This budget, as well as much of the legislation proposed this year, is seriously undermining the effectiveness of our University, which has been the model for higher education, at least in the South, for a long time.
We can expect rising tuition, which is frankly following a trend we see in states nationwide right now.
Overall, I just think we’re seeing this massive divestment from the University. It’s apparent and obvious that an educated workforce grows the economy.
And to be fair, Republicans have been pretty good about funding our K-12 schools and community colleges. But we need to extend the same courtesy of service to our University system.
DTH: I know healthcare is part of your key planks. How did you feel about the HHS-related pieces of this budget?
VI: I think that it’s shameful the way we have decided to treat people’s medical needs.
What we’ve done with Medicaire and programs like it is just not okay. We are trying to save some money here and there by risking people not having coverage.
They are trying to move towards privatization and they’re already merging programs and doing away with resources for some people who very much need them.
DTH: I know that political gridlock can really cause friction, but is there any bipartisan piece of this budget that you were satisfied with and proud of?
VI: I am extremely optimistic about what we’re doing in the prison system. It used to be, jail was the go-to answer. but we’re making serious advances in rehabilitory solutions.
We’re seeing more than ever clinics and intervention programs instead of just more prisons.
I think that it is absolutely correct for us to focus on the mental health aspects of crime and it is crucial that we continue to do so.
So I would say, if the Republicans want to point to something to be very proud of, that would be my suggestion.