Scare tactics?

Published 9:54 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

Now it’s all about scare tactics and fear mongering.

Gov. Sonny Perdue claimed in a news conference Thursday that all we have to fear is fear itself—never mind the proposed budget the University System of Georgia sent to legislators that could eliminate such programs as the Georgia 4-H, close half of the County Extension Offices, the Attapulgus Research Farm and the C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla.

There were also proposed cuts at Bainbridge College. The proposal by the University System would eliminate the Continuing Education programs, the communications office, advising center and drafting program at BC.

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“I have been very chagrined at some of the scare tactics and fear mongering that has gone on regarding our University System,” Perdue told reporters at a news conference. “Let me say unequivocally that under my administration, we will not dismantle a world-class University System that we spent over two decades to build up.”

The flagship institutions may not suffer from the dismantling of programs or the mass reshuffling of students from one degree program to another because programs have been cut.

But it happened to Florida State University, so the University of Georgia just may be next?

But what about the relatively small programs such as the drafting or the paramedic/EMT programs at Bainbridge College. They’re on the list, but the savings would be $255,000, according the USG report. Small savings in the grand scheme of things, but a huge impact on those who are touched by the cuts.

But how will the governor and legislature make up for the $1 billion shortfall?

The cuts in just one area of government—our higher learning institutions—seem dramatic and dire.

There is no panic, but there is concern—concern that the small fish will be sacrificed in order to keep the bigger fish fat and happy.

Now hospitals are crying foul because the governor is proposing a 1.6 percent tax on patient revenues in order to make up for a shortfall in Medicaid.

Hospitals such as Memorial are saying that the tax would force the hospital industry to lose $48 million a year, which could lead to job losses, service cuts and postponed capital improvements.

Instead, hospitals are lobbying for an increase in the tobacco tax.

Another scare tactic?