House Minority Leadership- Rep. Rocky Adkins, Rep. Wilson Stone and I, were excluded from conference committee meetings on the budget last week because of partisan politics. So when the budget was finally unveiled, just a few hours before we were asked to vote on it, there was no time to analyze the impact it would have upon the citizens and public education. What we did understand was that taxes were raised on those who could least afford it while giving tax cuts to the rich.
I voted no on both the revenue measure as well as the spending portion of the budget. Here is a sample of the impactful cuts as a result of the new budget that was passed by the majority party without any support from the minority.
Millions Cut from K-12 School Budget
Textbooks & learning materials
Tutoring for learning disabled students
School improvement programs
Teenage parent program
Teacher improvement and training programs
Arts & humanities programs
Gifted & talented programs
Mathematics Achievement fund
Read to Achieve
Environmental Education program
State Agency Children Program
Reduces SEEK formula from what passed in the House from $4,055/$4,056 to $4000 per pupil
Removes dependent subsidy benefit for retired teachers
Major Cuts to Higher Education
6.25% cut to all high education institutions
Cancer research and screenings (Ovarian, colon, breast, pediatric)
Neonatal Intensive Care unit
Office of Drug Control Policy
Tobacco Settlement Funds used to fund farmers markets, food for seniors, etc.
Bluegrass State Games
Autism Training Center
These cuts, combined with already tight budgets, will result in layoffs and deep cuts to vital programs.
None of this was necessary, we were willing to meet the minority half way and work together on total tax reform, developing new revenue streams to pay off the pension debt and to passing a balanced budget that was fair to our families, schools and vital services.