BOSTON (WWLP) - Western New England University students lobbied lawmakers at the State House Tuesday in support of Governor Deval Patrick's budget proposal that recommends an increase of $112 million dollars in student financial aid.
"I am a wife and a mother of two children and without financial aid I would not be able to go to school," said Tiffany Laporte, a sophomore student majoring in economics at Western New England University:
They're joining hundreds of students from 25 other Massachusetts colleges and universities. Together, they're persuading lawmakers to invest in education – what they believe is the state's greatest resource.
"We don't have those big markets like the corn and the wheat or anything like that. Our investment is in our education, with better education becomes better jobs, with better jobs it only boosts the economy," said Mark Martinez, a political science sophomore at Western New England University:
Governor Patrick has proposed investing nearly $7 billion dollars in education overall in the upcoming state budget, the most in state history. But he's also calling for tax reforms to pay for it, including a state income tax hike. State lawmakers have been unenthusiastic about the tax reforms.
"Every one of us in this line of work and much of the general public absolutely hate the subject of taxes and I get that," said Governor Patrick. "But there has to come a point where people realize that we can't keep saying we need this or that to grow opportunity and jobs without a willingness to pay for it, to sacrifice for it."
In addition to financial aid, Patrick's education plan extends learning time in middle school and increases funding for early education.