The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) was set to receive $16 million under the initial 2012 budget proposed by the former County Executive, but after County Council passed a 1 mill tax hike CCAC’s appropriation to $25 million.
Before the hike became a reality, top officials of CCAC’s student government told Council that many students could not afford another tax hike. One burned a $20 bill. CCAC’s president said that "a cut of $7 million could mean layoffs, closing of facilities, and higher borrowing costs." Advocates did not offer suggestions for combing through the budget and finding the savings elsewhere since the implicit belief was that taxpayers could afford a tax increase.
Now comes word that CCAC’s fundraising drive for program and capital projects has gone so swimmingly that the goal has been raised from $30 million to $40 million as the public phase of the drive begins. That drive includes the construction of a new science building. In short, in four months time the college has moved from mothballing buildings to possibly constructing new ones.
It will be curious to see how many prospective donors from Allegheny County are approached who will kindly tell the college that they would like to donate but their contribution will be included in the document mailed back to the County Treasurer’s office titled "2012 tax bill".