Education and Health Targets for State Budget Cuts

BY Lauren Knapp  January 20, 2011 at 3:37 PM EDT

Several governors throughout the country have announced their budget proposals for 2011. Education is one of the many public services already strapped-for-cash state governors are proposing to take funds from to alleviate budget woes.

Here’s a round-up of state budget coverage from public media around the nation:

California

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California is facing one of the country’s biggest state deficits – $25 billion – and has been taking a tough love approach to balance the budget. Brown’s proposal, released more than a week ago, suggests a half-billion dollar cut to state education funding. California schools have already been adjusting to three straight years of cutbacks by shortening the school day, laying off teachers, and cutting back programs.

Other suggestions include cutting all 400 redevelopment offices, ending a program that helps newly returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting $2 billion from Medi-Cal, the state run health care program, and $1.5 billion from welfare. Some worry that the cuts to Medi-Cal and state welfare would leave poor and immigrant families struggling.

Arizona

State legislators in Arizona saw Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal for the first time on January 14. Education faces $83.7 million in cuts as the state seeks to close its $2 billion gap. State budget cuts have already forced many schools to charge parents for full day kindergarten programs.

Georgia

Georgia lawmakers are looking to save up to $2 billion by cutting $185 million from higher education, which could result in tuition hikes. They are also considering keeping fewer inmates in prison, and eliminating funding for the Georgia Civil War Commission during the year of the war’s 150th anniversary. Some reshuffling is also in order as the state tries to make up a $1 billion hole in Medicaid after stimulus funds dried up.

Oregon

In Lake Oswego, Ore. the City Council and school board, two entities that are traditionally autonomous, are working together in a unique way to address the school district’s $5 – $8 million deficit for this coming school year.

Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry released his budget proposal this week, which seeks to shore up a $20 billion shortfall by cutting $5 billion from public schools, 69% of universities’ Texas Grant money, and eliminates 9,600 jobs, 1,500 of which are in the prison system. The mental health services and clinics could be cut by 40%.

Listen to a discussion about the realities of budget cuts in Texas here.

Washington

Health services are taking a hit in Washington, where state legislatures seek to fill a $4.6 billion hole. A Seattle public health clinic recently announced that 123 of its employees (half the staff) will be let go in March. It remains to be seen if House Democrats will be able to save the public health services.
Listen to conversation on proposed ways to raise revenue by encouraging more adult businesses and liquor stores.

New York

New Yorkers are worried about a $11 billion deficit and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has already taken a pay cut, is proposing spending caps. Cuomo has assembled three panels to address government spending through mandate reductions to be implemented by March 1.