I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Oh Why Can't We Have A Better Press Corps?

Apologies to Brad DeLong, but I just couldn't think of a better headline after reading this from the Record:

New Jersey is spending roughly the same amount of every dollar it collects from taxpayers on direct school aid under Governor Christie as it did under prior Democratic governors. 
The New Jersey Education Association - which disagrees with Christie on a number of issues, including tenure reform, merit pay and vouchers - is running a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against the governor that calls attention to education spending cuts. 
"Tax cuts for millionaires, but education cuts that hurt middle class families, Chris Christie is making the wrong choices for New Jersey," says the narrator in an NJEA ad running on television. 
Yet Christie, according to an analysis of recent state budgets by The Record, is allocating nearly 30 percent of total state spending on direct aid to school districts, about the same amount budgeted by former Govs. Jon Corzine and Jim McGreevey - two Democrats Christie routinely blames for causing the state's biggest fiscal problems.
Yeah, uh, guys? If Christie cut taxes for millionaires, and still spent 30% on schools.. well, that would be a cut, yes?

See, the dollar amount would be germane here, not the percentage of total revenues - especially if tax cuts for millionaires is Christie's policy. So the NJEA is correct. To really make the comparison, you'd have to treat Christie's tax cuts as expenses.

(Plus, we're leaving out tax expenditures. But I think that might be a bit advanced for the Record...)

Really, what is the point of this article? To say cutting taxes for the wealthy is fiscally responsible toward schools - or any other spending priority - as long as percentages remain the same? That's really, really dumb.

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