Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Getting close to the finish line on the budget

Today we did the School aid budget. The good news is that it was fairly flat, actually down a little on total, from $13.008 billion to $13.007 billion. The bad news is there was pork and poor spending decisions in the bill. Three Dem members got grants for their districts to cover deficits in "millage rectifications". Some districts miscalculated their millage income and now have a deficit. The districts that are lucky enough to be in the Speaker's or the Chair of Education's districts are getting a payout to cover the shortfall.

There are also such dubious accounts as: ECIC, Early Childhood Investment Corporation; ISD Parent Involvement grants; At-Risk funding; Early Childhood Grants; School Readiness Half-Day Programs, and others. These are all pork-barrel projects that started with some Rep. who wanted something for his district, or thought he had a good idea for how to spend more taxpayer dollars.

The new "foundation grant" is $7200 per student. But if we eliminated all the special grants and pork projects, which total over $211 million, we could increase that grant by about $130, or 2% more than it is now.

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