Conservative Corner: Fiscal Responsibility The Hard Way

As you may have heard by now, there will be some very noticeable cutbacks on campus that will affect us all in an attempt to battle a gapping $2.9 million hole in the LBCC budget. The Oregon and U.S. economy has been struggling for years and, as we have seen, the effects have been noticeable. With the decline of employed people paying taxes comes the short fall of the state, federal budget. A 5% drop in LBCC enrollment is also a part of the reason for the budget cutbacks.

 Republicans and conservatives blame The Obama Administration and the Democrats for a badly floundering economy, while the Democrats and progressives point their accusing fingers at the Republicans for stifling what they call “economic growth”. No matter who may be at fault, one thing for certain is our government’s lack of fiscal responsibility.

Since LBCC does get money from the state government, and the State of Oregon has a higher than average unemployment numbers, it stands to reason that there would be consequences for the lack of tax income from working people. According to, Oregon has been suffering with 8.4% unemployment since last January. The national unemployment rate at that same time was 7.9%. Could this be the consequences of a democratic and progressive run state?  Who knows?

The Albany Democrat-Herald has reported that Linn-Benton Community College President Greg Hamann has said that 23 positions will be eliminated, the baseball and women’s basketball programs will go, and there will be a $3 raise in tuition to $94. Whether you’re partial to a person of the layoff list, a baseball or basketball fan, or a student on a tight budget, the cuts will affect us all and many will feel the pain. The tuition hike is pending the vote from the LBCC Board of Education and will likely take effect July 1st.

At the risk of sounding like a heartless, animal, perhaps the cutbacks might be a good thing. Although the idea of losing important and extremely qualified people and very worthy programs will definitely hurt the institution, however, this could be the long pain-full treatment we need for our financial ailments.

When the typical family experiences economic hard ships, what would be the logical thing to do? Borrow money from family members, take out another credit card, take out an additional mortgage on the family house, or ask the government for a bail-out? Of course not! The family will use common sense. If the family members cannot find additional income they will eliminate unnecessary expenses, luxuries and would stop spending beyond their means and perhaps even financially downgrade their lifestyle. Maybe if the current presidential administration tried more of this tactic we wouldn’t be where we are today financially as a country.

Perhaps if LBCC didn’t try to rely too heavily upon the finances from an  already burdened tax payer and a state in a recession and found ways to be more efficient with tuition and tax payer money, things may be different. It is well know how tough the economy is here in Oregon, but looking toward a balanced budget as a butcher with a block full of meat isn’t quite the way most of us would like to see it.

No one on campus wants to see faculty and staff leave or programs get cut, but if we all look at it in a fiscally conservative way, we might see the cut backs may be for the better. After all, we all need the school to have a balanced budget to operate effectively. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.  It is very unlikely that Greg Mamann’s choice to eliminate positions and programs will  kill the school, but perhaps it will makes us a little more aware of our financial choices when economic times get better.




About D.K. Hummel
I am a dis-placed Alaskan, Ham radio operator, Broadcaster/DJ, Seahawk fan, Alaska Aces fan, U.S. Army Vet, and a conservative; but not always in that order.

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