Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On the state chopping block, "property-poor" School Districts, Red Districts with Republican Reps

The Gov submitted the required balanced budget. She has identified programs that both could be cut, but should be funded. As I mention a few days ago, those that "have not" will not have school district levy equalization money scooped up from all over the state (via the general fund) and given to district that either do not have the tax base for levies, or have chosen not to raise taxes. The last group, usually represented by like minded Republicans will be beggng on the House and Senate floor for a redistribution of wealth.
Her budget would eliminate the Basic Health Plan, a state-subsidized insurance program for the working poor, saving about $161 million over the next fiscal year. About 65,000 people are current enrolled.

Also zeroed out would be the General Assistance-Unemployable (GAU) program, which provides a temporary safety net for people unable to work because of mental or physical disabilities. That would save $207 million.

It would suspend funding for school levy equalization, which provides money to "property-poor" school districts, saving $143 million, and suspend state-subsidized all-day kindergarten, saving another $33.6 million. State-subsidized all-day kindergarten has been offered at a few school districts with the intent of expanding the program.

The budget also would cut $146 million in financial aid for college students and lower the qualifying income threshold from 70 percent of median family income to 50 percent. That means the money would only go to low-income families. The size of the grants would be smaller as well.

All told, the governor's budget would reduce spending by about $1.7 billion. The rest of the $2.6 billion shortfall would be filled by shifting money from certain funds and tapping reserves.
read the story here, in Seattle Times, Facing $2.6 billion shortfall, Gregoire to seek tax increase to balance budget

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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