[HCCN] Collins cutting Maine School funding

Dexter Bellows hcdc at downeast.net
Thu Feb 5 20:18:38 EST 2009


So, even though every sensible economist keeps explaining that  
spending => jobs = stimulus, and states are laying off teachers and  
postponing school construction and maintenance, these "moderates"  
think it makes sense to reduce education spending and state funding  

If true, this would be stunningly stupid. Perhaps the Senators should  
be reminded about what their Governors and mayors (cheers for Mayor  
Fetterrman!) are facing. In Susan Collin's Maine, for example, the  
Boston Globe noted this:

    Maine has an unemployment rate of 7 percent, its highest level in  
17 years. It is facing a current state budget deficit of $140 million,  
and another $177 million gap is projected for the fiscal year  
beginning in July. Like many states facing budget shortfalls, Maine  
has been forced to cut services or raise fees. It has cut per-pupil  
spending for public education, increased tuitions for state colleges,  
cut money for homeless shelters, and imposed a $25 enrollment fee for  
poor patients using Medicaid, according to an analysis by the Center  
for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.

    The federal stimulus bill passed by the House would allocate $2.38  
billion to Maine. About 10 percent of that would go to balance the  
state budget, with the rest going to infrastructure spending, safety- 
net programs, and tax cuts. Although the numbers in the Senate version  
of the bill are still in flux, the House plan included $190 million in  
school aid, including money to renovate or repair public school  
buildings; $434 million for Medicaid; and $9.2 million in worker  
retraining funds for the unemployed.

    Which of these lifelines would senators Collins or Snowe decline  
in the names of their constituents?

Almost every state in the country faces the same dire choices. But we  
seem to have a group of Senators who think ignoring these problems is  
the "moderate" thing to do. Incredible.

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