Monday, November 17, 2008

States Can No Longer Hold the Line on Funding for Education

Link to November 17 post, "Tough economy hammers schools, colleges".

Cutting education spending is an indication of how bleak the economy looks. States are usually reluctant to cut school funding in times of economic hardship, because education is “politically sacrosanct,” said Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. During the economic downturn after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, half the states still managed to avoid major cuts to education, he said.

The Wisconsin outlook?

Here's the latest "Budget Reduction Memo" to state agency heads from the Wisconsin Department of Administration that addresses a projected $5 billion deficit through June 30, 2011.

As reported in the November 12 Wisconsin State Journal, .......

Doyle was more cautious about a potential increase in sales and income taxes, saying he would only do it to avoid a crisis in Medicaid and K-12 schools and universities.

"I am going to do everything humanly possible to avoid any general tax increase," Doyle said. "I am willing to make very deep cuts but I am not willing to see the schools of this state go into crisis mode."

Doyle said he would seek:

* A hospital tax that, as proposed in the past, would bring in more federal money to make larger state payments to hospitals and pay down the budget shortfall by $150 million to $210 million over the next two and a half years.

* A tax on oil companies that would bring in nearly $393 million over two years.

* Federal money to help the state pay for priorities such as health care for the poor, a measure that President-elect Barack Obama said he supported during the campaign.

* Cuts and savings in state government that could affect many agencies such as UW-Madison and programs including a planned expansion of the state's BadgerCare Plus health-care initiative to childless adults.

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