Sunday, May 4, 2014

Freakazoid Subsidy Breaking Kentucky's Budget

Kentucky isn't broke any more than the federal government is: there are tens of millions if not more in public tax dollars that state government gives away to private and religious interests every year.

Stop that inexcusably and unconstitutional shit first, Governor Beshear and Speaker Stumbo, then we can talk about budget cuts and tax hikes.

John Cheves at the Herald:

Over the last six years, as the state of Kentucky shrank public education funding, it spent nearly $18 million to pay for student busing at private, mostly religious schools in two dozen counties, according to state financial records.


The state's spending is about to grow. In March, amid lobbying by the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and other groups, the General Assembly voted to boost the private school bus subsidy to $3.5 million annually, up from $2.9 million, a 17 percent increase.

Kentucky's constitution prohibits state funds from aiding "any church, sectarian or denominational school," which prompts a few state lawmakers to question the legality of the subsidy. But they say the subsidy is politically popular in many legislative districts and unlikely to be challenged.

"Do I have a problem with private school students getting public money to get to private schools? Yes, I do," said state Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, who is chairwoman of the House budget subcommittee that oversees K-12 schools.

"These are families who have chosen not to attend public schools, which is certainly their right. But we are under no obligation as a state to pay for their choice," Flood said. "Meanwhile, the transportation needs of our public school systems are pressing and growing, and I would like for that money to be redirected to help our public schools."

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