Schools lose if tax cut becomes law
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
If Missouri lawmakers override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a major tax cut bill, the state’s 520 public school districts stand to lose at least $260 million a year in state aid — and perhaps as much as $450 million this year alone.
What do they stand to lose?
MASA’s estimated state aid losses for local districts if lawmakers override Nixon’s tax cut veto:
• Jefferson City Public Schools, between $1.444 million and $2.5 million a year.
• Blair Oaks R-2, between $376,259 and $651,218.
• Russellville R-1, between $189,751 and $328,415.
• Eugene R-5, between $168,965 and $292,439.
• South Callaway R-2, between $49,595 and $85,837.
• New Bloomfield R-3, between $228,153 and $394,880.
• Fulton Public Schools, between $618,592 and $1.071 million.
• Ashland, between $483,034 and $836,021.
• Chamois R-1, between $87,063 and $150,685.
• Linn R-2, between $146,550 and $253,644.
• Fatima/Westphalia R-3, between $152,776 and $264,420.
• Eldon R-1, between $500,131 and $865,611.
• California R-1, between $422,976 and $732,073.
MASA’s complete listing for all Missouri schools can be found at www.masaonline.org.
The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) said released calculations for all Missouri public school districts. Among 32 Mid-Missouri districts, the total cuts range from more than $11.684 million a year to as high as nearly $20.245 million.
And just two districts — Jefferson City and Columbia, the two largest school systems — account for 55.7 percent of the lower-estimated cuts, and 47.1 percent of the region’s cuts under the worst-case scenario.
The calculations show Jefferson City’s public schools could lose between $1.444 million and $2.5 million a year in state aid.
“The state is already failing to meet its obligations to Missouri schools,” Roger Kurtz, MASA’s executive director, said. “How are local communities going to cope with the fiscal cliff created by House Bill 253 (the tax-cut bill)?
“Their only options are to continue to cut programs for kids — or raise property taxes to make up the difference.”
During a Tuesday afternoon visit to the Eldon Senior Center, Nixon told more than 30 people the estimates are based on the Legislature’s more conservative prediction of the state’s reduced revenues from the vetoed law, and a higher estimate made by the administration’s budget office and others.
“They’re dramatic numbers,” the governor said. “And, consequently, we’re trying to be very clear and very educational in how realistic this is.
“The number one economic development tool that exists — education — should be a place where we’re investing, not a place where we’re cutting.”
But House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, accused Nixon of using “scare tactics ... in an attempt to prevent the veto override of the most significant tax reduction package in decades.”
In a news release, Jones and Stream said the governor has “resorted to hyperbole and a reliance on ‘worst case scenarios’ to frame his argument against the tax cut package passed by the Legislature earlier this year.”
The school administrators’ news release noted the 2005 formula defining how state money is distributed to public schools currently “is underfunded by over $600 million this year. Bills like HB 253 are projected to not only make those problems worse, but also prevent schools from making the reforms needed to better prepare students for the future.”
Missouri School Boards Association Spokesman Brent Ghan said Tuesday the analysis shows the negative impact the bill would have on school districts throughout the state.
“If anything, this is a conservative estimate of how much state funding school districts stand to lose,” he said.
Since vetoing the tax-cut bill last month, Nixon repeatedly has said lawmakers have a choice between supporting the tax-cut measure or supporting education.
“But they can’t do both,” Nixon has said.
In his news release, Jones said: “Even more outrageous is the false choice the governor has fabricated that pits the tax cut against funding for education — and that he makes this weak argument while our state has a surplus in the hundreds of millions.”
Late last month, when he signed the budget bills creating the 2013-14 state budget plan, Nixon acknowledged that state revenues last year were higher than predicted, and there was a surplus carried over into the new budget year.
But, if lawmakers override his veto, he said, that surplus wouldn’t be enough to cover the income cut by the tax-cut bill’s immediate impact.
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