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13 March 2008

Call for Action to Contact State Legislators
in Support of Higher Education

Record Crowds at Higher Ed Day Deliver Emphatic Message

Hundreds of students and faculty from Jacksonville State University joined counterparts from across the state for a spirited Higher Ed Day rally to protest massive cuts in Gov. Riley’s proposed 2008-2009 education budget.  Known as House Bill 319, the Riley budget would reduce state funding to JSU by a whopping 13.5 percent.  That translates into $6.5 million less for JSU.

In calling for equitable cuts across the education spectrum, university leaders emphasize that we are willing to shoulder our fair share of the burden caused by the downturn in the economy.  While higher ed’s current portion of the proposed cuts is in double digits, K-12 budgets are being reduced just 2 percent.  Jacksonville State representatives have been working since the legislative session began to emphasize how critically important it is that ALL levels of education be treated fairly.

That message resounded in the halls of the State House when the record crowd of Higher Ed Day participants converged on the Capitol.  A number of key legislative leaders commended the campus delegations for a concise, effective, common-sense message. 

Call To Action

Many questions remain before the Legislature finalizes next year’s budget.  Momentum generated by the boisterous rally last week needs to be sustained until the budget process is completed during the next two months.  It is crucial that you contact your legislators – both House and Senate members – as well as the leadership in both chambers.  Your personal letters, emails and telephone calls are the most effective strategy to deliver your message!

Please take a few minutes today to make those contacts.  To find your legislators, go to and enter your zip code.  Following is a set of concise talking points you can use in delivering your message.

Talking Points for Your Discussion with Legislators

ü      The proposed Education Budget is not acceptable and Higher Ed must be included in any budget negotiations.

ü      Higher Ed is prepared to take our pro rata share of the cuts, but we cannot take a step backward and jeopardize the state’s economic growth.  All segments of education must be treated EQUITABLY.

ü      We need each Legislator’s firm commitment to find and vote for a solution to the budget problem that is fair and equitable.

ü      4-year Universities receive only about 20% of the education budget but are being hit with over 50% of the cuts!

ü      University endowments are restricted by law and cannot be used to cover the shortfall.

ü      Huge tuition increases of 25% or more would be required, slamming the door to higher education on Alabama families.

ü      This is the wrong time to add new programs in the education budget; the Governor’s plan adds $50+ million in assorted new programs that our state cannot afford now.

ü      While the Governor has declared he will not raise taxes, the fact is this:  forcing massive tuition increases creates an impossible financial burden that straps the very same middle-class families he pledges to help!

ü      The Governor and industry recruiters know a primary tool to attract and retain new businesses is a well trained workforce.  That has become our success, and it is now seriously jeopardized.  Alabama cannot afford to lose jobs or momentum.

Contact Information

Don Killingsworth


Government Relations


The Higher Education Partnership and The University of Alabama’s Government Relations Office contributed to this update.

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