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Rep. Garofalo on Education: Not the Math, It's The Language

Category: Pat Garofalo
Posted: 06/07/11 22:35

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Pat Garofalo went into a tizzy yesterday because of language. That's budget language, by the way, which is a subset of English.

This one revolved around "compensatory revenue"....something few people outside of education budgeting understand, but the basics of it were outlined in "Hot Dish Politics":

In his letter vetoing the Republican K-12 budget, Dayton criticized the bill?s ?freezing of compensatory revenue.? The state doles out that money, sometimes more than $400 million a year, based on the number of poor students in each school district.

What got Garofalo in a dither was the word "freezing". It was an idea that Garofalo had considered previously... but the conference report did not include it. So the "freezing" part was gone....or was it?

During some exchanges between Garofalo and Dayton's education department, we learn more about how "compensatory revenue" would be treated in this bill if passes as is:

What Republicans did instead was separate the compensatory revenue from the basic per-pupil formula allowance. That means future Legislatures will have to specifically increase the compensatory revenue formula, rather than just boosting the basic formula.

So, essentially, it IS frozen...unless legislatively acted upon specifically.

When it comes to revenue in education, it isn't just compensatory revenue that runs into the Republican treatment. It is also "integration funding". Funding that is supposed to be working toward minority education improvements.

The Minneapolis school district predicts what will happen with "integration" cuts and other targeted cuts for urban centers, as proposed:

We have worked diligently to build a system of sustainable financial management. Cuts of this magnitude fly in the face of our efforts on behalf of our students, families and Minneapolis residents.

All of the following would be at risk:
? Elimination of school choice; funding supports integration of our schools through the school choice system
? Elimination or drastic reduction of all-day kindergarten
? School start times may be impacted due to possible need for a tiered bus route system
? Classes sizes would increase due to a reduction in staffing
? Fewer resources for supplemental academic support, prevention and behavioral support services and counseling support

All of that because Rep. Garofalo thinks urban schools "waste" integration funding. Yet, to pretend he is holding "schools" harmless, most of the funding itself isn't actually cut from the overall budget -- just redistributed under a new name and probably to places that still need it, but not as much as the urban centers do.

I don't understand budget speak all that well, but overall numbers in the education budget between Dayton and the Legislature are not that far apart in the math....it's just the application that is oh so wrong.
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Tax Increases or Bankruptcy- That's the Real US Choice

Category: Economy
Posted: 06/07/11 10:35

by Dave Mindeman

The USA Today has a stunning headline to offer us today:

U.S. Owes $62 Trillion

The Republican spin will be swift and immediate. See, I told you so, all that spending has been disastrous.

But there is another take to that. Maybe, just maybe, we are just being deadbeat in paying for our obligations -- kind of like the Minnesota Republican Party.

For over a decade, we have been told by Republican leadership that the government shouldn't have our money. They rammed the Bush tax cuts through at a time when we were just beginning to establish surpluses and also a time when the baby boomers were beginning to expect their contracts on Social Security and Medicare to be met.

And then, on top of that, the Bush administration steered us into never ending war....which the Obama administration has perpetuated.

In another bit of irony, while snooping around the internet, I found this from the 2008 economic crisis:

Another US$ 62 trillion Hole Appears

I'm sure its a coincidence but the banking industry managed to saddle our economy with $62 trillion in credit default swaps. And those little drags on our economy have never been addressed.

Yes, the Tea Party is right....we have mountains of debt. But the idea that we have been overspending is a one sided perception. Most of our obligations are for Social Security (with longer life spans), and Medicare (with increasing technology that improves those lifespans), and for our veterans (dramatic increase in numbers because of Iraq and Afghanistan), and for the working poor (because we refuse to really fix healthcare), and for wars (with no point to argue which party is at fault - they are both at fault now).

The part of the budget that the Republicans and Democrats are arguing about right now is a blip...a speck...a dust mite.

Simply put, we have to decide whether we are going to pay for our obligations with taxes or just default into bankruptcy.

That's our real choice. The only choice.
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Budget Movement? Only If You Don't Count Distance Apart

Category: Economy
Posted: 06/06/11 22:57, Edited: 06/06/11 23:08

by Dave Mindeman

The GOP says they are willing to meet Governor Dayton half way.

But, as with all things GOP, there is a catch.....

Republican leaders say matching Dayton's requests in the budget for K-12 education, public safety and the judiciary would amount to $110 million more in those areas. But they say that would have to be made up with reductions in other spending areas.

So, the overall budget does not change.

Ready for a sports metaphor?

The Governor is on the 50 yard line and the GOP is still standing at the goal line. The GOP is offering to move 25 yards toward the Governor, provided he takes a 25 yard penalty.

End result....same distance apart.

Is there really a compromise in there somewhere?

Oh, and then there is this cutey from Zellers:

"This is a substantial offer on our part to accept the governor's funding requests for half the entire state budget," House Speaker Kurt Zellers said in a statement.

Half of the budget? They take a few spending bills in which they are the closest in numbers to the governor ($110 million) and then call it half the budget. Sorry, $110 million is not half of $1.8 billion.

As Bert would say, they're using California math.
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