House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, who squeaked through the primary last August to hold on to his seat, must be trying out for a new job as a stand-up comedian. That’s about the only explanation for his joke about Senate Republicans displaying a lack of “seriousness” about public school funding, when it’s been 30 straight years of budgets signed by Democrat governors that have resulted in the crisis defined by the McCleary decision.
The truth is that Democrats have been chronically underfunding public education and higher education spending for a generation. They have controlled at least one house of the Legislature in 28 of the last 30 years – and had complete control of the Legislature in 14 of those years. A Democrat governor has signed every state budget since 1985. Under these heavily Democrat-controlled budgets, the ratio of education versus non-education spending was 1:2 (in other words, the Democrats’ priority was two dollars for bigger general government for every new dollar of education funding).
Sullivan was trying to make the point that the House Democrats would hold a transportation package hostage for higher taxes (a capital gains income tax and a cap-and-tax scheme are Democrats current favorites for growing the size of state government) during a news conference yesterday. Sullivan’s attempts are particularly laughable because it is up to the state House to propose a budget this year. And, instead of actually working to form and pass a budget, the minions of Speaker Frank Chopp are busy playing their usual blame game.
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