Day: <span>August 3, 2012</span>

Rainy Day Fund, $8.1 billion — schools, zero

Remember all the taxpayer money that the governor and the legislative majority left in the Rainy Day Fund while slashing $5.4 billion from the public schools in the current two-year budget? Well, that Rainy Day sum will total at least $8.1 billion by the end of the budget period, analysts told the Legislative Budget Board today.

That is enough money to close a $4.7 billion hole in the Medicaid program, repay school districts about $2.5 billion for the upcoming school year AND have Rainy Day money left over for other needs. Additionally, an improving economy is boosting state general revenue by $5 billion more than the comptroller forecast when the current budget was written.

Months ago, TSTA urged the governor to call the Legislature into special session to appropriate $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to avoid cuts for the 2012-13 school year, which begins later this month. But the governor has refused, the fund continues to grow and school districts continue to cut jobs and reduce programs – or, in some cases, prepare to ask local voters to pay higher property taxes.

It doesn’t make much sense, except in a selfish, anti-public education political way.