Only on 12: Harbin says $300M education cuts "ridiculous", "never going to happen"
After fierce protests from students it seems top state leaders are back-tracking on education cuts.
Posted: 7:05 PM Mar 10, 2010
Reporter: Chris Thomas
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
News 12 at six o'clock, March 10, 2010
AUGUSTA,Ga---After fierce protests from students it seems top state leaders are back-tracking on education cuts.
State House Appropriation's Chair Ben Harbin calls the last few weeks nothing but political gamesmanship.
"Everyone can't come up here expecting for government to do everything they want," said Rep. Ben Harbin.
Harbin says MCG's nursing anesthesia program will not be cut as suggested.
"The nurse anesthetist program it's not going anywhere," said Harbin. "They know I am going to protect that."
What about Augusta State University's nursing program?
"Those weren't things that were ever going to end," said Harbin. "It became a gamesmanship of who could produce the most scare tactics."
There are less than 20 days left in the legislative session.
"It's a difficult time," said Harbin. "We are going to have to cut."
The original suggested cut was more than $300 million in education cuts.
"360 million is ridiculous," said Harbin. "We can balance this budget without destroying a university system that does a great job."
But MCG may have to reexamine expansion.
"Out in Athens," noted Harbin. "We are going to trim that back some."
The state is facing a $1 billion shortfall.
"We are going to trim it back and slow it down," said Harbin. "Because we have to protect other things that have a higher priority and a more immediate need."
It seems student protests worked.
"We don't have to balance the entire billion on the backs of education," said Harbin. "Some of us were irresponsible in throwing out the big number, but I have been really disappointed by the way the universities have responded to it by throw out scare tactics."
Harbin says expect across the board cuts.
"It means there will be some pain," said Harbin. "I guess what we are asking for is some understanding."