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ASK THE EXPERTS

The continued budget cuts

POSTED: May 1, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Senator Gooch recently wrote about the final budget for Georgia for fiscal year 2014.

He mentioned a few increases in some areas of education and that funding would continue for the current Medicaid program. What he didn't mention was that these increases do nothing to erase the 10 years of cuts to both of these programs.

Since 2003 public education in Georgia has been cut by 6.7 billion. And this year another $1 billion was added to that total. So the approximate $250 million in increases will do nothing to bring our students new textbooks, smaller classes and up-to-date technology.

Teachers will continue to have cuts in pay and benefits, furlough days, and students will continue to see the school year shortened.

It is amazing that they cut funds further for public education, but were still able to find more funding for students to go to private schools on public tax money.

He also wrote that funding for Medicaid was passed.

What he didn't mention was that the Department of Health and Human Services budget was cut by another $5 million this year. That is added to the already 21.2 percent cuts since 2009.

He also didn't mention that almost no adults can get Medicaid in Georgia and that Georgia ranks as one of the states with the highest number of uninsured adults. Yet we have plenty of funds to give money to the Falcons to build a new stadium.

Businesses don't want to come to a state that has poor programs in education and Health and Human Services.

As Alan Essig of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute has stated: "There is a better alternative. Comprehensive tax reform that increases revenue will improve Georgia's economic competitiveness. Reforms can be designed to cut many Georgians' taxes and still pay for investments that fuel the state's prosperity, good schools . . . healthy workers."

We must step up and make the changes necessary and keep Georgia strong.

Bette Holland
Dawson County

 

 

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