Decades of tax cuts and government “rollbacks” have meant that most states’ public sectors, including state colleges and universities, have been systematically underfunded. The COVID19 crisis has brought this underfunding into sharper focus, as hospitals and public health systems strain under the pressure of budget shortfalls. State sector higher education systems, both those with affiliated medical schools and hospitals and those without, are now grappling to survive on state budgets allocations that are critically dependent on state and local sales and income taxes. Following the 2008 recession, for example, states slashed programs and introduced furloughs and layoffs. The COVID19 economic downturn is expected to be much, much worse. As before, these post-recession budget crunches are likely to be compounded by state balanced budget laws that will require massive budget cuts. Plus, in a “never let a good crisis go to waste” fashion, several GOP-dominated state governments are moving to try to restructure public colleges and universities away from liberal arts education and more toward more workforce development.
This webinar discusses how we arrived here and the possible alternatives to austerity, in which already damaged economies will be further hurt by collapsing public sectors. From various points of view, these alternatives will be discussed as well as strategies to see them achieved