Tuesday, April 12, 2011

State Budget Lunacy

The following was sent out by the California Teachers Association (CTA). It is a pretty good summary of some of the more egregious examples of how states are squeezing working people for the benefit of the rich. It is no coincidence that California has been left out of their list. CTA is complicit in the state’s gouging of working people, including their own members, the teachers. They are even trying to rally teacher support for a state capital protest to force legislators to allow an extension of regressive taxes that would further squeeze working people, while letting the rich off the hook. 

In Florida, Governor Scott is proposing a K-12 education cut of 10% or $700 per student. Schools are considering cutting football and athletics programs. At the same time, Scott has proposed cutting the corporate income tax from 5.5% to 3%, and fully eliminating it by 2018. The tax cut will cost the state $459 million in 2012. Florida is already 50th in per capita state government expenditures for all education and 43rd among the states in state tax revenue per capita [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; News 4 Jacksonville, 3/14/2011; Highlands Today 2/10/2011; Florida Times-Union 3/29/2011]

In Maine, Governor LePage is cutting the alternative minimum income tax in 2012, lowering the top income tax rate from 8.5% to 7.95% in 2013, and in 2014 doubling the tax exemption in the estate tax. These cuts will cost the state $203 million over the next two years, but Mainers earning between $28,139 and $48,050 would only get a tax break of about $83 in 2013. Meanwhile, LePage is cutting health care for seniors, including a $14 million cut to Maine's Medicare Savings Program that would drop 40,000 people from the program which helps seniors and the disabled afford prescription medication. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; WABI, 3/31/2011]

In Michigan, Governor Snyder wants to eliminate the state business tax, replacing it with a flat 6% corporate income tax. He is also wants an additional $1.8 billion in business tax cuts. Yet, Snyder recently signed a law cutting unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks. He also wants to cut $470 per pupil from K-12 education spending and a 15% cut in state support for public universities. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; Detroit Free Press 3/29/2011; Detroit News 4/1/2011]

In Minnesota, the Republican Senate has enacted new tax cuts costing $200 million in 2012-13 and $435 million in 2014-15. The tax breaks will be paid for by cutting the “Renter’s Credit” which provided a tax refund to over 300,000 low and moderate income households. [MN Budget Project 3/29/2011]

New Hampshire
Gov. Lynch wants to cut 23% of state funding from public universities ($750 per student) and 21% from community colleges ($400 per student). The New Hampshire house just passed a budget bill cutting $115 million from hospitals, $5 million from childcare aid for mothers trying to get off welfare, $90 million from the University System and $11 million from the Community College System. At the same time, the bill adds funding for charter schools and eliminates a $30 per vehicle registration fee.  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; Union Leader 3/31/2011]

New Jersey
Gov. Christie is proposing a 25% reduction in the corporate minimum tax, and he wants to raise the estate tax exemption from $675,000 to $1 million. These cuts will cost the state $200 million in 2012. He also gave away $800 million in corporate tax cuts through his “Back to Work NJ” program, while rewarding millionaires with tax breaks. At the same time, he cut $1.3 billion in state support for education. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; Daily Record, 12/28/10; Office of Legislative Services Budget Analysis, April, 2010; NJPP Report 1/24/2011]

Gov. Kasich is proposing a K-12 education cut of 10% ($489 per student) and a higher education cut of 11% ($510 per student), while giving away $1.2 billion vouchers and charters schools subsidies. Kasich cut Medicare by $1.4 million. Meanwhile, Kasich left 128 business tax exemptions, credits and deductions worth $7 billion in lost revenue and he is implementing an income tax break that will cost Ohio $800 million in revenue. [Policy Matters Ohio 3/25/2011; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; Policy Matters Ohio 3/29/2011; Toledo Blade 3/20/2011; Columbus Dispatch 3/17/2011]

Gov. Corbett refuses to collect revenue from new natural gas drilling, while proposing a k-12 education cut of 10% ($550 million), plus an additional $500 million in cuts to implement effective educations practices, train teachers, and maintain tutoring programs. He is also wants to cut more than 50% from higher education ($271 million) and reduce community college funding by 10%. Yet, there is plenty of money for tax breaks for businesses, like the elimination of capital stock and franchise taxes. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 3/11/2011]

Gov. Walker gave away $117 million in tax breaks for corporations and has promised to corporate taxes by $82 million. Meanwhile, he wants to cut education by 8% ($749 million) over the next 2 years, with an addition $250 million cut from state universities. He also wants to slash Wisconsin’s SeniorCare program. [Associated Press 2/4/2011; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/2011; WHBL News 3/31/2011]

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