The Boston Globe ran a story today about the cut in funding that local colleges are seeing for research dollars paid for by earmarks.
A two-year moratorium on the practice, which allowed lawmakers to tack dollars for pet projects onto a bill without debate, hits the state particularly hard. In the past three years alone, colleges in the Bay State received more than $57 million to fund items such as a large telescope at University of Massachusetts Amherst, a library renovation at Lesley University, and research on biological warfare at Boston University, according to the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
In response to the freeze, schools are turning to Washington lobbyists to prowl the federal bureaucracy on their behalf, pleading with local benefactors to make up the difference in funds, and aggressively seeking federal grants. Researchers have been forced to shift priorities or lower their ambitions. In some cases, workers have been let go.
“What’s happening now in the post-earmark world is that it becomes a multifaceted strategy,” said Michael Armini, who oversees Northeastern University’s government relations. “It’s not just all about Capitol Hill.’
Am I supposed to feel bad about this. Does Mr. Armini of Northeastern realize that we borrow forty cents of every dollar we give him. Perhaps he should be looking to private foundations, or his own endowment to conduct meaningful research that can be commercialized and turned into a profit center.