Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The estimated $200 million budget shortfall and legislative special session--holding education harmless this year

It was announced that Utah's revenues will be as much as 200 million dollars less than the previously projected budget. The state is suffering from the difficult economic conditions just like everywhere else. Governor Huntsman will call a special legislative session to deal with the shortfall. The governor wants all state agencies--except public education--to immediately cut their budgets by 2% and to be prepared for up to 5%. Rep. Dave Clark says that public education is safe until at least next year.

I obviously value public education and its importance to society highly. However, there are critical transportation needs among with many other important priorities to be balanced. For the record, I support reducing spending on education next year if this economic downturn continues, probably in the form of teacher salary...IF the legislature will also reduce their salary, their automatic raises each year without a vote, and their lifetime, taxpayer-funded health benefits. Teachers and legislators are all public servants and should share the burden along with other state agencies.

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