Stegner: First Thing State Does in Tough Times is Cut Higher Ed

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The Idaho Legislature's budget-writing committee begins what it calls "eduction week" Monday morning.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will hear from Dr. Bob Kustra, president of Boise State, Dr. Arthur Vailas, president of Idaho State, and Dr. Anthony Fernandez, president of Lewis-Clark State College. University of Idaho President Dr. Duane Nellis follows on Tuesday.

Higher education has taken it on the chin for the last couple of legislative sessions, having to place a greater burden of higher tuition and fees on the backs on students and parents.

"Historically, when the state of Idaho gets in trouble financially, the first thing they do is cut back on higher education," said Joe Stegner, the seven-term state senator who recently became the U of I's chief Boise-based lobbyist. "Throughout my legislative career, I thought that was a tragedy, and voted against a lot of appropriations bills because of that. But it's a reality."

Stegner is featured as BW's Citizen in our upcoming issue, hitting the streets Wednesday.

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