The deep cuts in public services and millionaire-friendly tax policies that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has proposed have made him a poster child for good governance for conservatives like Fred Barnes and George Will. But his proposals also highlight — if unintentionally — the need for a better, balanced approach to meeting public needs despite a recession-fueled plunge in state revenues.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The New York Times reports that hundreds of thousands of teachers across the country could face layoffs in June, as state revenues remain weak and federal Recovery Act assistance will soon dry up. (The Washington Post has a similar story.)
As Congress considers whether to extend the state fiscal assistance in last year’s Recovery Act, it should keep in mind that without those funds, states will have a very hard time continuing their initiatives to improve their schools.
Education is the single biggest item in state budgets. So when the recession triggered an unprecedented decline in state revenues, it’s not surprising that most states cut education spending to help close their shortfalls.
While it’s certainly good news that Congress has put the program providing extra weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits back on life support through the end of May, lawmakers must resolve the uncertainty facing jobless workers and the overall economy by extending the program through the rest of this year.
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