Don’t watch. The sausage is being made.
Following the marathon 15 hour second special session, House Speaker Tina Kotek released that “The budget that lawmakers ultimately approved yesterday makes approximately $400 million in strategic reductions, taps $440 million in one-time funds and resource adjustments, and draws down $400 million from the constitutionally dedicated Education Stability Fund in order to protect education, health care, and other core services while reducing some ongoing costs heading into the next budget cycle.”
“Re-balancing” has no similarity to “equitable.” There was nothing equitable about the re-balancing, which targeted projects and programs that wouldn’t have as much election consequences and added new programs to boost the major party’s election returns. It had a lot to do with why the re-balance didn’t receive an overwhelming vote -- hitting rural projects the hardest.
Item one on the Joint Ways and Means 2020 Re-balance Plan smells of a Ponzi scheme. It’s described as “use of Education Stability Fund to offset General Fund and CAT need in the State School Fund.” They weren’t even secretive in reducing the State School Fund $350 million and the CAT fund $50 million to prop up other funding shortages, and replacing those school funds with $400 million from the Education Stability Fund. The bottom line is that they cut $40 million from the budgets and propped up other budgets with $400 million from the Education Stability Fund.
On May 7, Governor Brown asked state agencies to make plans to reduce their budgets by 17% as a backstop to the $2.5 billion in the rainy-day fund. What happened to that plan?
Oregon is ranked high in economy preparedness based on the rainy-day fund. Could that be why the Education Stability Fund was used to retain the false image that everything is super?
When voters passed the Education Stability Fund in 2002, it didn’t occur to most voters that the fund would be manipulated to be used as a rainy-day fund for the General Fund shortfall beyond an equitable cut in education to not let education suffer. But what has happened is the education stability fund is being used to make possible adding new funding like $2 million for Individual Development Accounts or adding $1.35 million for upgrades to the Capitol building.
Another question voters should ask is if the state is anticipating $1 billion budget hole, why are they adding new projects? The Legislative Fiscal Officer Ken Rocco says the CAT could bring in $415 million less than expected. Is that going to be another hit on the Education Stability Fund? Our economy is in uncertain times, but playing political games with the school funds isn’t what voters are looking for in leadership.
|Post Date: 2020-08-11 20:20:25||Last Update: 2020-08-12 15:40:20|