Friday, March 13, 2009

Tuition = Taxes??

Here in Michigan, Gov. Granholm wants to see two things happen this year:

  1. Michigan public universities freezing tuition
  2. A 3% cut in state operating support to public universities
As if often the case, our governor has ideas which lack a basis in economic reality. Honorable ideals, perhaps (sometimes)...but generally out of touch with economic reality.

Then we have this quote on Granholm's desires, originally reported in Gongwer:
Granholm did not reveal any specifics on how that would be done, but reiterated her view that it is important that tuition be frozen so students don't see "their tuition taxes go up."
Tuition taxes?? What?? Students who attend Michigan public colleges (or their benefactors) are paying for a service—education—which they receive. This service is already deeply subsidized by me and the other taxpayers of Michigan. For the government to merely "subsidize something to a lesser degree" (when many of us would prefer not to see it subsidized at all) does not amount to a "tax" on those who purchase that service.

Students, like other consumers, are free to take their tuition dollars where they choose. To call their tuition a "tax" is disingenuous; we are not free to take our "taxes" where we choose!

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