How many times have our legislators told us that they value our children, teachers, and public schools, and that they always keep our best interests top of mind when deciding state budget issues? Their actions tell a different story…
While public school underfunding has escalated, school buildings have deteriorated, special education resources have fallen short, and teachers, assistant teachers, and other state employees have struggled to survive, legislators have been stuffing our tax dollars into state savings accounts. Here are the facts:
- State reserves in 2004: $13-million; MAEP underfunding in 2004: $7-million
- State reserves today: $3.4-BILLION; MAEP underfunding today: $272-million
Tomorrow is the deadline to file the conference report on the PreK-12 school funding bill. As it stands, HB 1600 would UNDERFUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS NEXT YEAR by $300-million. Meanwhile, Gov. Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn say that the Legislature has so much extra cash lying around that they should reduce state revenue by more than a third – pushing to eliminate the state income tax, which would devastate your school district’s budget.
Legislators should keep their promises to our children before spending a single penny on income tax cuts. Any state revenue that is available for an income tax cut is state revenue that is available to fund our schools.
Please call your legislators now with these messages:
- If you’ve got extra money lying around, we expect you to use it to fully fund public schools.
- Do not cut income taxes.
- Do not send public funds to private schools – vote NO on HB 1687.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Tell House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann that we want public schools fully funded – not tax cuts or vouchers!
Speaker Gunn: 601.359.3300
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200
Reeves made clear where he believes legislators’ values lie when asked by the press yesterday why the income tax should be eliminated: “We’ve collected so much more revenue than what the Legislature needed and wanted to fund government operations.”
There you have it, friends. According to Reeves, they don’t want to fully fund our public schools or pave our roads or fix our sewers or invest in mental health or protect our children or do any of the myriad things that taxpayers have been urging them to do with our tax dollars. Our money has been sitting in savings accounts while our children and teachers and families have suffered. It is unthinkable that elected officials would treat their constituents with such disregard.
Final decisions on these bills will be made this weekend and voted on by Monday. Please call now. Ask your family and friends to call, too. You can track legislative action on all of our priority bills here. Our teachers and children are counting on us, and together, we’ve got this!