My wife’s (seemingly automated) response from Jack Hill.

Now this is a knee slapper. For an automated response it is a damn good one. As you guys know, my wife wrote the senator Jack Hill, and judging from this response I am pretty sure he didn’t read it.

Whitney,

Thank you for your email.  There has been a good bit of publicity this
past week that is inaccurate and I will try and give you the facts as I
know them.  But, first, know that I have been a staunch supporter of
Georgia Southern and of higher education and continue to be.

In the 20 years I have served the Fourth District, we have brought over
$200M in new capital investments to the campus and this year we are
working to secure the funding for a new Biology building.  And you need
to know Representative Bob Lane has been a full partner through the
years supporting Georgia Southern.

The state is undergoing severe decreases in the tax revenues mostly from
individual income tax and sales taxes, the two main sources.  Since
2008, state revenues have fallen over $4 billion.  We have cut spending
but have filled the difference with onetime funds like reserves,
including Federal Stimulus funds, but these have pretty much dried up.

Our present shortfall has resulted from state revenues just continuing
to fall beyond all expectations the last ten months or so.  We started
out the year in July with a $900 million shortfall that resulted in
furloughs for state employees and teachers.  The shortfall has continued
to increase and went beyond the Governor’s estimated FY2010 Budget
amount last month.  This resulting expected shortfall will result in a
further shortfall in the FY2011 Budget which the legislature is working
on right now.  It is estimated that the new shortfall is at least $1
billion dollars.

So every area of state government is being examined for additional cuts,
but I don’t believe the Regents will be asked to take a cut too much
higher than their percentage of the whole budget.  Certainly the cuts
will not be at the level some have claimed.  Higher education is unique
in that colleges can make up cuts with tuition increases and Georgia’s
college tuition is traditionally in the lower ranking of southeastern
states.

What I think has some legislators riled is a recent article in the
Athens newspaper reporting the high salaries for many administrators.
Other articles from time to time print presidents’ salaries and some of
the salaries at MCG and other institutions, and legislators get upset
and want to cut the whole system to try to get at a few.  Most believe
administrators should be cut first.  I certainly am aware that
professors and staff are not overpaid.

Our higher education system is the state’s crown jewel and I certainly
want to maintain as best we can the quality even in these difficult
times.  So, let me reiterate that colleges and universities will have
all of the tools they have traditionally had in meeting cuts.

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch and I hope you will again.
Your input is always appreciated and valued.
By the way, I write a weekly email column on state issues.  Be glad to
send it to you if you like.  Just let me know.

Jack

Besides her name at the front, it is clear that this letter is a calculated response as it fails to be personal at all. We need to step this up a notch and go BEYOND the letter writing to something a bit more intrusive.

What do you guys think?

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2 Responses to “My wife’s (seemingly automated) response from Jack Hill.”

  1. Ehhh. Give Jack a little break on this one. You can imagine the amount of traffic he’s getting. I sent an email as well and got a very similar response.

    Know this though…. Jack is a proud GSU alumni and will do everything he can to help us. We’ve never experienced anything like this before and neither has he. It’s my understanding that he’s offered some very creative solutions that have not been well taken. I’ll try to get some specifics. I’m usually the first to rail on a politician, but I honestly believe Jack is an integral part of a potential solution to the mess.

  2. atmaweapon42 Says:

    Thanks so much for your input here Alex. My response may have been a tad bit pithy, but I do understand just how dire the situation is for him as well. I just think we may have to do something a little unorthodox to truly get our voices heard, and we may need to go beyond the elected officials and communicate to the public as well.

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