States to Residents: Forget Promises to Restore School Funding
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Smith hopes that as state revenues increase while local governments continue to make cuts in necessary services in coming years, it will prompt a more productive discussion about what the government is supposed to do. “When you’re making cuts of the size we’ve seen here, you’re fundamentally changing the understanding of what our responsibilities are. We need to step back and ask, ‘what are the basic functions of government?’ Then we can fight the battles over additional revenue.”
Florida State Representative Jeff Clemens agreed. “These tax cuts are obviously a strategy to ‘starve the beast,’” he said. “But I’ve lost track of who the beast is. Public education, teacher salaries, parks and roads, public safety? Is that the beast?”
As this legislative session comes to a close, some Republican lawmakers are already gearing up for next year’s fights. In Oklahoma, several proposals to cut taxes were introduced this year, including one that would gradually eliminate the income tax altogether. In the end, however, none of the proposals passed before the session ended, as lawmakers could not agree on how much to cut taxes, or for whom.
When asked whether he believes that the fight will continue next year, Republican State Representative Don Armes laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. This isn’t over. We’ll be back.”
Remapping Debate is a not-for-profit online news publication dedicated to posing the "why" and "why not" questions of domestic public policy.
Mike Alberti is a staff reporter for Remapping Debate. Mike graduated with a B.A. in English from Vassar College in 2009. He has previously contributed to The Colorado Springs Independent, The Independent Weekly in Durham, N.C., and The Weekly Beat in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.