The Arizona Daily Star uses this editorial opportunity to continue the Arizona media tradition of telling readers what a lousy state we live in. I thought this sentence was interesting.
Anyone who's been paying attention knows that our state's education system has egregious weaknesses - and worse, that both the K-12 schools and our university system have been absorbing huge cuts in state support.
Actually, "anyone who's been paying attention" knows that University of Arizona funding has been flat for the last nine years. Well, anyone who's been paying attention to the Star knows that. After all, it was the Star that reported it.
"UA's financial position has remained essentially the same during the nine years, having neither significantly worsened nor improved," according to the Board of Regents' staff report on the three state universities.
Naturally, the editorial writers read their own paper, so they know that the UA's financial position has "remained essentially the same" for the last nine years. That's why the editorial writers used such strange phrasing.
Did you notice it? "cuts in state support?" That's awkward, why not just say "budget cuts?" Well, we know now that they can't say "budget cuts" because, like, you know, the overall budget hasn't been cut. The Star writes "cuts in state support" because the MIX of funding has changed: Appropriated State funds have been reduced, non-appropriated state funds have been increased and federal funds have increased. While the Regents say the total budget has been flat, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee says that the total budget has actually increased.
The editorial writers used the awkward term "cuts in state support" in an effort to be technically accurate, yet still imply that the UA had endured "budget cuts". Unfortunately for the Star, they missed a weasel word, so the statement in their editorial still isn't accurate. They needed to write "cuts in APPROPRIATED state support" that's because the cuts in state funding have been made up with increases in tuition...which are also state funding.
Of course, instead of trying to find the exact phrase that's still accurate yet manipulates the reader into believing someting that's not true, the Star could play it straight. But that wouldn't fit the narrative now, would it?