Brass in Pocket
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 :::
Once more, the Governor has threatened a special session to get the legislature to come to an agreement on transportation...preferably one that includes higher taxes. To keep the narrative flowing, Kaine again lays into the House:
Acknowledging that his financing plan is much closer to the Senate's, Kaine was critical of the House no-tax program. It largely depends on state-backed debt and use of a big chunk of the state's current $1.4 billion surplus. Additionally, he said, it diverts proposed funding from critical state programs for road and transit improvements. Kaine criticized House reductions in funding for community colleges, public schools, health care and law enforcement to raise money for transportation.
And Michael Hardy does not lift a finger to see if this claim has any merit.
Is the House diverting surplus money to roads? Of course. But schools, police, health care, puppy dogs and sunshine will still get more money than they do today, even after the diversion. Jim Bacon has this on education spending, and he quotes Vince Callahan on the House's education spending proposal:
The budget will provide approximately $11.5 billion in funding for public education over the next two years. This represents an increase of $1.5 billion over the current funding level or approximately 36 percent of the net new revenues available. ... The budget will invest approximately $419 million in additional general fund support for higher education. This represents an increase of approximately 13 percent over base funding levels.
Yes, more money will flow into classrooms everywhere. And this does not count increased spending that will come from localities.
The money is there in great, ever-growing heaps. But because the House proposes a lesser increase, it's a cut.
Such is the brave new world of budgetary surplus politics.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/01/2006