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Support higher education and transportation in Tallahassee

February 29, 2012

Higher Education

The Partnership wants to thank everyone who called House and Senate members and asked them to support the University of South Florida in the face of devastating budget cuts.

A series of budget amendments allocated $46 million for the USF College of Pharmacy, the “teach-out” of USF Polytechnic students towards USF degrees, and the USF Tampa campus.

While the USF budget situation has improved, the state’s budget is being held up by a debate over funding higher education.

The House has proposed a $300 million recurring cut, spread out across the state universities. The Senate proposed a $400 million cut, which pulls reserves from universities.

While we expect all universities to face cuts, take this opportunity to remind our Bay Area Legislative Delegation members that supporting higher education is essential to our ability to create jobs and economic development. If our legislators are serious about improving Florida’s economy, they must be serious about supporting our universities, colleges and technical schools that will build the workforce our businesses need to compete in the future.

Transportation

Transportation has been a focus of the Partnership for the ability of transportation projects to create jobs and attract and support economic development. With that in mind, we ask you to support the Senate’s transportation bill (SB 1866), which would save transportation trust fund revenues for transportation projects.

The House proposes sweeping $120 million out of the transportation trust fund. The Senate proposes using motor vehicle fees to boost the trust fund by $130 million. Should motor vehicle fees remain in the trust fund, the cumulative impact on the Florida Department of Transportation’s five-year work plan could be about $2.8 billion, when bonding impact is considered.

Higher education and transportation are two of the essential needs for a region to be economically viable. We hope that you are able to reach out to the Bay Area Legislative Delegation and let them know your thoughts about the importance of funding higher education and saving transportation dollars for the transportation trust fund.

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