Jan. 5: College cuts are hardest on poor students

Jan. 5: College cuts are hardest on poor students

Louisiana leads the country in higher education budget cuts since the start of the Great Recession.

Louisiana leads the country in higher education budget cuts since the start of the Great Recession. But the Pelican State is hardly alone in cutting support for public colleges and universities, as most states have chosen to replace state funding with higher tuition in their university systems. As Jon Marcus of the Hechinger Report notes, such cuts fall hardest on low-income students and the institutions that serve them. That’s because richer schools, including state flagship universities, often have greater resources on hand to cope with financial stress.


Among the reasons is that flagship schools have other sources of income to fall back on, including endowments, research funding, deep-pocketed donors, and out-of-state and international students who can afford to pay a premium tuition price. Community colleges and other, regional public universities don’t have those advantages. “There’s an old saying that budget cuts give flagships a cold and regional campuses pneumonia,” said Tom Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.


Child care affordability in Louisiana

A new national report says Louisiana is the only state in the nation where the cost of child care is affordable for a typical two-parent family, using a metric developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But as Jennifer Larino reports for Nola.com/The Times-Picayune, the report is drawing strong pushback from local advocates, who note that the cost and quality of child care services are a major problem for poor families in a state that spends zero general-fund dollars on publicly subsidized care for children 3 and under.


“It really is not reflective of what is going on with families here in the state,” said Melanie Bronfin, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. … Child care is still unaffordable for the vast majority of single parents in Louisiana, Bronfin said. Costs are even higher for single parents with multiple children. The Child Care Aware report highlights child care affordability for homes headed by married parents. That runs counter to reality in many parts of Louisiana, including New Orleans, where The Data Center estimates roughly 48 percent of kids are raised by a single mother. “To say child care is less expensive here, it just does not portray the whole picture of what’s going on,” she said.

Writing for Long Island Press, Elizabeth Palley says President-elect Donald Trump should take a lesson from the U.S. military, which has a child-care system that could serve as a model for the rest of the country.


Both the center directors and the curriculum specialists must have at least a B.A. in early childhood education or in a related field. All workers at the centers must have at least a high school diploma or a GED. The parents of the children who attend pay for the care on a sliding scale. Workers are paid on average $15 an hour including extensive benefits packages. They receive training and further opportunities for advancement. Though it costs $700 million a year, our government has decided that for the children of people in the military, this is a good investment. Why not invest in a program that benefits all American children?

A Netflix tax?
Revenue-hungry states and municipalities around the country are looking to tax online streaming services such as Netflix, which have grown exponentially in recent years and largely replaced bricks-and-mortar video stores where customers paid sales taxes. Elaine Povich, reporting for Pew Charitable Trusts, says the issue has come up in Chicago, Pennsylvania and 45 California cities as those cities try to craft a  tax structure that’s more compatible with today’s economy. But predictably, there is a backlash.


Backers of the internet streaming levy say it’s just another step in governments’ attempts to adapt the tax code to the modern world. Foes, led by the streaming industry, say the issue needs to go before the voters, or at the very least, city councils or state legislatures, before taxpayers start handing over more cash. The move to impose taxes on internet streaming is another step in an effort by cities and states to tax services that are downloaded from far-flung companies that likely don’t have an office or other facility in that state. The so-called “Amazon tax” that some states are seeking to apply to out-of-state internet sales is one example. Taxing “cloud” services with a business-use levy is another. The taxes are akin to taxing electricity that a utility generates out-of-state, but is consumed in-state, or like cellphone taxes on wireless service.


Reminder: Community health-care meeting in New Orleans

New Orleans-area residents are invited to learn more about the ways ACA repeal could affect Louisiana citizens and the state budget. Tonight’s community forum is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Community Resource Center (2022 St. Bernard Ave., New Orleans). Leaders from LBP, 504HealthNet, the Jesuit Social Research Institute, the Advocacy Center, Voices of the Experienced (VOTE) will be on hand to provide information and answer questions. More information is available by clicking here.


Number of the Day

82– percent of Affordable Care Act enrollees who are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their coverage  (Source: Vox)