Saturday, February 02, 2013

Tim Jones: Nixon asking for massive increases for education

In a blog post Friday, Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, says Gov. Jay Nixon's promise during his State of the State address Monday of massive increases in education funding has no basis in reality.

On Monday, we heard many grandiose promises from the Governor relating to new policies he is supporting and the budget he is proposing to support those promises.  On some of his broad-based ideas, we find common ground.  However, upon a closer examination of what few specifics he offered, it is becoming clear that he has made promises that are a gamble and could require massive new taxes and spending that Missourians are likely to be more than skeptical about when they see the numbers.  What is worse is that many of these promises will come at the expense of the prosperity of the next generation.

You heard this week that the Governor is proposing that the A+ program will be taken statewide.  What you didn’t hear is that the budget assumes this expansion will only cost $1 million more.  How one assumes that a $30 million program only needs $1 million more to expand statewide is unreasonable and indefensible.  This roll of the dice will not pay off and will cost the state far more than he suggests.  We need to be honest with ourselves when we propose program expenditures.  Moreover, we need to be honest with the people of Missouri.

You also heard that the Governor is adding $100 million to K-12 education in his budget.  What you didn’t hear is that his budget relies on three key legislative proposals simultaneously being passed by the legislature that might bring in extra money.  Only one of these proposals has ever been considered before the legislature and has a history of failing each year - common sense tells us what result we should expect again this year.

What Can We Realistically Expect?

The Republican-led legislature will be moving pragmatically forward over the coming days, weeks, and months to craft a budget that will be based on sounder judgment.  We won’t make you promises that we know will likely fall through.  This commitment to fiscal responsibility will have political consequences.  You will hear that we are “cutting” money for kids or the disabled.  What will actually be happening is a rational, fiscally-responsible, and honest appropriation of funds that the state will actually receive instead of money we dream it will receive.  We will be forthcoming.  We will be transparent.  You deserve no less.

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