AMHERST, Mass. Proclaiming that education is at “the crux” of the economy and democracy, Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor Jill Stein said she would seek savings elsewhere to increase the state’s public higher education budget and advance a green jobs agenda.
In an interview with WBUR’s Bob Oakes during a special live broadcast from Amherst, Stein said cuts to the higher education budget are “an indicator of the wrong priorities on Beacon Hill.” Over the past five years Massachusetts has cut more out of the higher education budget than any other state.
As governor, Stein said she would seek to reverse the trend by curbing government waste and “sweetheart deals.” She said she could find savings in the $1.7 billion being spent annually on “so-called economic development and tax expenditures,” which could be put back into the education budget. She said she’d then use the bully pulpit to push public education officials to lower tuition and fees for students.
“Students are coming out of college these days up to their eyeballs in loans at the same time that it’s very hard to get jobs, and we’re going to change those priorities,” Stein said, “because education really is at the crux of our economy and the crux of our democracy.”
To remedy the disappointment on jobs we’ve heard this week along Route 9, Stein pushed a green jobs agenda. She said she’d set up a revolving, zero interest loan fund to advance companies and start-ups in the green economy.
“These are jobs that pay for themselves because they save money in energy and also clean up the air so they reduce air pollution,” she said.
Stein also pointed to the healthy food and recycling manufacturing sectors as areas with growth potential.
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As he travels Route 9 this week, WBUR’s Bob Oakes speaks with the four candidates for governor.