Friday, March 20, 2009


Urgent need to contact state senators today:

Kathy Wilmot of Beaver City, Neb., warns that if the Unicameral decides to use some of the unexpected federal stimulus money for use in its regular state aid to education funding, it'll lead to a tremendous state tax increase in the future when the federal money has dried up.

The former member of the Nebraska State Board of Education agrees with Gov. Heineman that we would be creating new educational entitlements if we use the one-time federal money to pay for ongoing state education costs, and then would have to resort to increasing state taxes in the future to keep those things paid for when the federal stimulus funding has run out.

It's kind of like adding on a room to your house: after the one-time expense, there are ongoing expenses year after year, of heating it and cooling it and furnishing it and cleaning it . . . and the money to pay for those ongoing expenses has to come from somewhere.

She urges citizens to act NOW. Find your state senator's phone number and e-mail address at http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/

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The current state aid to education formula calls for an increase of $230 million over two years. Governor's Heineman's proposal pares that down to an increase of $100 million. Big Ed wants the federal stimulus funds to at least raise state aid up to the original 230 million, more if possible, of course, as always.

So what if the recession goes on more than two years? No federal stimulus will be available, most likely. Then what? Raise state taxes or local school property taxes? Won't happen without a real taxpayer revolt. Not in the third highest proerty tax state in the nation.

And why is federal money "free money?" It all comes from the blood sweat and tears of the beleaguered taxpayer. And what efforts have OPS or most other school districts made to do more with less; to humanely cut some non-teaching jobs, for example? Absolutely nothing that's been reported.We see stories of Creighton University, Alegent Health, the city of Omaha, Union Pacific, many businesses cutting back.The school districts should do the same and THEN come begging for more state aid.

The governor's 100 million increase in state aid seems more than generous, and it is by far the largest percentage increase of any state budget catagory. (Most state agencies are getting only inflatinary increases or even decreases.)State Aid to Education is already the largest item in the state budget, approaching a billion dollars. Big Ed, read the papers! We are in a severe recession. Act accordingly, please.
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