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Senate Democrats Offer Immediate Action, Concrete Plan to Fund Education

Posted by kimj at Feb 25, 2014 07:25 PM |
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In contrast to the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus' budget, which would reduce available resources by creating or extending 15 tax breaks, the Senate Democrats released a proposal this morning that would close $100 million worth of unproductive tax breaks to invest more in education. This plan takes swift action to get us closer to fully funding education under the McCleary decision. 

The Senate Democrats’ plan prioritizes funding for teachers, textbooks, smaller class sizes, and full day kindergarten over the four tax preferences described below (see chart). 

ed. proposal update

While the budget proposed by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus would invest an additional $38 million in funding for school supplies and materials for the remainder of the current budget cycle, it would saddle future budget writers with more than $80 million in higher tax break costs for the 2015-17 biennium. By comparison, the revenue generated by the Senate Democrats’ closure of tax breaks will grow to $200 million over the same period.

In addition to the immediate investments outlined in the plan by Senate Democrats, full funding would be phased in linearly for all components of basic education, including increased compensation for teachers and school staff. As the court  recently pointed out, funding of educator and administrative staff salaries remain constitutionally inadequate. 

The Senate Democrats' plan is reasonable and necessary, though still inadequate, to fully fund basic education reforms required under the McCleary decision. In order to raise the necessary $4 to $5 billion by 2018, lawmakers will need to continue to prioritize children over wasteful tax breaks and look for other ways to raise ample revenue. Enacting a new tax on capital gains, which are profits from the sale of corporate stocks and other high-end financial assets, would build a more robust and equitable revenue system in the long run.

The House budget proposal is expected tomorrow. Stay tuned to schmudget for our analysis.  


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