PA Republicans Increase Prison Funding While Lying About Slashing Education Funding

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Last month I presented part of a report by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials that detailed the devastating impacts that PA Republicans’ slashing of education funding in the last few years has had on our state’s public schools. Now, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has put out a new policy brief exposing the details of those cuts as compared with prison funding, which PA Republicans evidently think is a much more important priority than education.

Debunking a very commonly recited conservative talking point about education funding in PA, they write quote, “An argument that education cuts were driven by the loss of temporary federal funds [from the 2009 stimulus package to prevent an economic depression following the 2008 financial crisis] misses a significant fact – expired federal funds were replaced almost dollar for dollar with state funds in other departments but not in education. In 2011-12, the same year large education cuts were imposed, $187 million in temporary federal funding was replaced with state dollars in the Department of Corrections budget.”

KP edu graph 2

This graph shows prisons getting increased funding above stimulus levels in each of the last four years in the pair of bars on the left, but in the pair of bars showing education funding on the right, we see that at first barely half of stimulus funds for education were replaced, and we’re still coming up short in replacing them by a significant amount. Which means a smaller public workforce contributing to the state economy and fewer educational opportunities for our youth.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center policy brief also includes another graph that even more clearly squashes the conservative refrain that they weren’t really education cuts, they were just temporary federal funds that went away.

KP edu graph 3

This graph shows that in inflation-adjusted dollars, the state spent well over $10 million per year on education in 2007 through 2009, which was before the temporary stimulus funds were added in 2009 through 2011, and that state education funding levels after the temporary stimulus funds expired have been even less than they were before they were added in the first place, under or just barely $10 million per year.

So please, next time you hear a conservative talking about how PA Republicans didn’t really cut education funding and it was all just a misunderstanding regarding temporary stimulus funds, feel free to refer them to this policy brief, or this video.

*This is a transcript of a video from the only grassroots progressive newscast exclusively about Pennsylvania politics, Counterpoint PA. You can watch the video for this segment here.*

This entry was posted in Education.

5 Responses to PA Republicans Increase Prison Funding While Lying About Slashing Education Funding

  1. Denny Bonavita says:

    What a bloodsucking liar YOU are! This “inflation adjusted” crap is crap. The state budgeted more money for education this year than it budgeted last year. Your federal stimulus from your liberal socialist bankrupter of the country went away. So it’s you who are lying.

    • Aaron says:

      When I said Republicans lied, I pointed out the lie, and debunked it with sourced facts. And you accuse me of being the liar because you don’t like the idea of adjusting dollar amounts for inflation? C’mon, I’m sure you could have found a much better hole in my argument and much more offensive personal insults than that, pal! Adjusting dollar amounts for inflation is important because that’s how you know what the dollar amount was actually able to buy in the year it was spent. It’s very important context to have. If you don’t like it in this case because of your partisan blinders, go take it up with the PBPC or other economists.

    • UDResident says:

      Of COURSE education was funded more this year than last year! Corbett was in control last year too! Rendell hasn’t been governor since January 2011, so please tell me how Corbett spending more on education than last year (yet still much less than Rendell did) is anything more than an increase from a HUGE drop in funding that HE created.

      Here’s a fact for you, buddy. Pennsylvania spent more on education in the 1970s than it does now. Go ahead and try to refute that. The only bloodsuckers are the people who suck off the teat of the cities while denying them the dollars their taxes brought the state. An area with less people than the Delaware Valley somehow has more political clout and more resources than the Delaware Valley and the Pittsburgh area combined!

      By the way…. “Bankrupter of the country”? I don’t think Bush, who caused the deficit to go into THE TRILLIONS with tax cuts, two UNFUNDED wars, and a ridiculous amount of defense and other spending was a socialist. I don’t think Reagan, who DID THE EXACT SAME THING TWENTY YEARS EARLIER, not to mention the Iran/Contra, deregulation, trickle-down/supply side economics, was a socialist either. So who is this socialist “bankrupter of the country” again?

      Oh, and define socialism.

  2. Ken says:

    How many for profit prisons are there in Pennsylvania? Are any of the three prisons allocated in Corbett’s budget two year ago where he cut education by almost $1 billion and increased prison funding by $700 million for profit prisons? Is the new prison being built at Graterford outside of Philadelphia a private, for profit prison?

    • UDResident says:

      Not to mention that the for profit prison in Delaware County has at least twice accidentally let prisoners escape, one of whom went on a crime spree in Upper Darby and Lansdowne that ended with him being shot to death in Upper Darby.

      We all know Corbett is a corrupt disgrace to this state and this country who only cares about how much money and position he can acquire for himself.