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Legislative - Call to Action - Statement on 2010 Budget
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Call to Action!

A Statement from PAGE on the 2010 Budget

Released March 31, 2009

Dear Senator

When the House passed the 2010 budget and transmitted it to the Senate for action, PAGE, its 75,000 members and their families expressed gratitude to House members for a budget for education next school year that was austere yet fair to educators and students.

We are very pleased that both the House and now the Senate Appropriations Committee kept funds for school nurses in the budget. While the House voted to fully keep the state’s commitment to national board certified teachers, Senate Appropriations is recommending a significant cut in those funds. We ask that the Senate fully restore those funds and keep its commitment to educators who have earned that distinction.

We are pleased to note that neither the House budget, nor the budget being recommended by Senate Appropriations require any furloughs of educators. That is how it should be in our view at a time when state and federal revenues are not yet completely clear.

An important aspect of the House budget was their decision to fairly fund health care benefits for state employees, using the previous formula that splits the cost 75% - 25% between employer and employee. The budget being recommended by the Appropriations Committee calls for a reduction in the employer’s cost to 70% which will require a substantially higher premium from already strapped educators and will unfairly shift an increased share of the burden on state employees and their families beginning in December 2009 and continuing into 2010. The Senate should maintain the 75%-25% split and not allow the reserve funds to be used solely for the benefit of employers.

We urge all Senators to carefully consider the importance of education to our state and the fact that K-12 education has already absorbed more than $1.6 billion in funding reductions since 2002.  A complete contact list of sentaors can be found  by clicking the following link.

We know you will be reviewing the budget line by line and will be making a careful assessment of the state’s needs in light of available revenues – including federal stimulus funds. We ask that you keep educators and their families in mind as you do so.

When the Senate passes the budget, the bill will go to a House/Senate Conference Committee for finalization.  (We continue to hear rumors around the capitol that furloughs for educators might be introduced into the budget during the closed door deliberations of the conference committee.)

Key participants of the House/Senate Conference Committee who need to hear from you regarding furloughs are:

Speaker Glenn Richardson
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill
Senator Tommy Williams
Senator Chip Rogers
House Appropriations Chair Ben Harbin
Representative Jerry Keen
Representative Mark Burkhalter

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