Kids vs. Cops
before that pesky October first deadline, an interesting special
interest battle is unfolding playing the schools against the cities.
It's a classic case of "if you don't do this, something worse will
Here's the drill: The governor wants to transfer money from the
surplus in the school aid fund and use it to buy down the deficit in
the state's main check book.
Of course the school lobby is not overjoyed as it sees the surplus
as "its" money and that's that.
The governor sees it as a way to avoid a tax increase and she is
warning lawmakers, if they side with the schools, she will be forced to
cut the last state aid payment to the cities.
That in turn would impact police and fire services since those
costs eat up most of the budgets at the local government level.
Obviously the cities don't want that, so they are lobbying with the
governor to raid the K-12 school aid fund.
Caught in the cross-fire is the guy who chairs that budget in the
House, Rep. Terry Brown (D-Pigeon.) The schools have leaned on him but
he is reluctantly siding with the governor.
"If there are no police and fire services in the cities, that puts
the schools at risk," he concludes. He doesn't like it, but says he
has no choice.
And many house Democrats concur as they ponder their re-election
bids this November.
No politician wants to be held responsible for layoffs in the
public safety arena. It's a one-way ticket to the unemployment line if
somebody gets killed in a city and it's discovered that the local
lawmaker voted to cut revenue sharing.
That's why the schools will lose this round.