Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week 2: Nixon's Grade


If Governor Nixon is able to protect his deal that freezes tuition in exchange for stable funding at Missouri colleges and universities in 2010, it will be an early political coup that becomes part of a pitch for re-election down the road. But it also sets great expectations for future years during an economic period that is volatile and uncertain. Will revenues recover enough for him to continue his pledge for 2011? 2012? Or could this pledge just compound the long-term problem? These are some of the questions that defined Nixon's second week in office as one of unknowns. With his budget to be unveiled Tuesday, week two was filled with intrigue and wonder. If not higher ed, what will be cut? K through 12? Can you just do it through efficiencies? (It was his prerogative to offer few hints.) Republicans were taken a bit off guard by Nixon's call to delay a contract for a new emergency radio system. If he is able to find a cheaper, better way to do it, he'll boost his fiscal responsibility cred. (But again, this is an unknown.) Nixon gets points for some bold moves, sprinkled with political surprise. But the higher ed rollout was not without a snafu. Some of the 2-year institutions felt snubbed by not getting a heads up about the announcement about their own agreement. The 2-years already feel like they get treated as a different class, and a visit from the new Governor would have been a small gesture that would have went a long way politically. Still, if he's able to keep his funding pledge and extend it down the road, that will all likely to be long forgotten. This week is like grading the first rough draft of a term paper. It has promise, but needs flourishing out.

Nixon's Week One Grade: A-

1 comment:

Jim said...

I think your grade is fair but as a person that voted for Nixon you have to wonder if this will not backfire on Nixon. What if Nixon has to withhold in this fiscal year. What if revenues don't meet next years projections. In either case you would have the appearance that he broke his promise to the higher education community.

The whole promise looks somewhat like a political stunt given that you have to get the money from someplace else and that he did not consult legislative leaders. That reinforces what many of us who supported Jay fear. That he sometimes goes overboard for political gain.

Still prefer him over Hulshof.