By Kevin Daley
Throwing caution, student pocketbooks, and their better political instincts to the wind, student senators voted 8-6 Tuesday night to increase the student tax levied on Canisius undergraduates in the middle of an election.
The tax rate, formerly 1% of tuition, was increased to 1.25% upon the recommendation of outgoing Business and Finance VP Brian Almendinger. In an e-mail to senators obtained by The Griffin, Almendinger characterized the tax hike as “minor,” though it promises to total nearly $80 per student.
The primary impetus for the increase was identified as a staggering bill from the NFTA for metro cards. Administration officials have asked Undergraduate Student Association to contribute $178,800 for the passes, an increase of $38,800 from last year. Other causes cited for the increase include the burgeoning of the size and number of student clubs, and inflation.
The vote comes shortly after President Hurley announced tuition would increase 3.9% in the coming academic year. The tuition hike promises to further pad student government revenues. When asked if the tuition increase was sufficient to meet the demands of next year’s budget, VP Almendinger confirmed they were not, continuing that if the measure was not approved, the requisite funds would come out of next year’s club budget.
Senators Russo and Victor expressed concern that the administration was not contributing enough to fund metro cards, and proposed different ways to cut expenditures to avoid passing the burden of cost on to students. The college is offering $75,000 to help USA purchase the passes.
In a manner befitting his commanding oratorical style, Senator Andrew Plewinski railed against the increase, insisting the administration was dictating how student tax dollars should be appropriated, urging his fellows to stand up to the administration. He further insisted that raising the student tax was unfair to students who pay their way through school. Plewinski has made prudent financial management of school funds a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
The vote on taxes immediately succeeded a resolution approving the purchase of metro cards.