At least $3,000,000,000 (BILLION) was just cut from education over the next 10 years, with perhaps as much as a $1,000,000,000 (BILLION) a year cut coming soon after that.
This stuff is very complex so let me explain what happened.
Right now for every $200 that goes into the "general fund" (which covers education, medicaid, public safety and most everything else that the state government does besides transportation), $1 is taken out to add into the transportation budget.
Under the plan passed by the General Assembly today, that $1 for every $200 will be increased to $1.35 for every $200 going to transportation from the general fund. Sounds reasonable, it's only $0.35 on every $200.
Keep in mind this funding is in addition to transportation taxes, not the total funding source.
This money all comes from the general fund. Here's what is in the general fund as explained very simply by Dave Albo yesterday:
50% goes to education
25% to medicaid
15% to public safety
10% to everything else (including car tax)
As Albo noted in his floor speech, you can't touch the 25% that goes to medicaid because we are already at the federal minimum for coverage. We will continue to be at the federal minimum after the medicaid compromise this weekend (if it even holds up to the coming court challenge)- but that floor will be higher thanks to Obamacare.
But here's the catch. Obamacare doesn't pay for all of medicaid. It just pays 100% of the cost of the new people being added to the medicaid program, and only for a few years, then the feds propose picking up 90% of the cost.
With health care costs continuing to grow faster than the economy as a whole, the percentage of the general fund spent on medicaid would go up even without expanded coverage- but will go up even more when the state has to begin picking up 10% of the bill on the newly covered.
Meanwhile, the 15% of the general fund spent on public safety is a rising cost also. George Allen's legislation to "abolish parole" has led to this area of the budget increasing as more people are locked up in prison for longer periods of time. In addition the General Assembly passes new felonies every year- rarely eliminating any- all of which cost money to keep people in prisons longer.
So public safety's budget will continue to expand, especially with costs associated with the health care of an aging population in prison.
As Albo noted, once you take out education (50%), medicaid (25%) and public safety (15%) only 10% of the general fund budget covers "everything else" in state government. That even includes things like the car tax rebate which is not going to be eliminated.
So guess what gets hit as public safety needs more money, as medicaid needs more money? Education.
Now on top of all of those exisiting problems- legislators are taking even more money from the general fund for transportation- once again hitting education! How much? An additional $200,000,000 (MILLION) cut from education is what is being estimated to be raised in the first year by moving the transportation pull from 0.5% to 0.675% of the general fund.
That's $1,000,000,000 (BILLION) in the first five years cut from education.
But the general fund is funded from taxes that grow with economic growth like the sales tax. So this transportation bill will strip even more money that was available for education as the economy grows. Every year it will take even more.
If the economy grows at a similar pace as it did from 1985 until 2000, this $200,000,000 (MILLION) a year from education could be up to $1,000,000,000 (BILLION) a *year* taken from education by 2028.
Don't misunderstand what just happened. Your schools just got blasted with cuts in order to widen some roads.