Did Chris Christie increase or cut education funding?
While we were out this weekend, we saw a campaign ad by Chris Christie saying that he provided "the most education funding ever". That was a bit unexpected, so i looked it up when we got home, but i can't really figure it out.
The NJ Star-Ledger and Politifact have a piece on this. Politifact rates the ad "Half true" but that's because of a separate claim on merit pay for teachers that i'm less interested in. Regarding the budget claim, the article says:
As for "most education funding ever," Christie's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget calls for nearly $9 billion in education funding, about $1 billion more than the previous year. State aid to schools would increase $97 million. While no district saw a state aid decrease, many either received a nominal increase of $1 or their funding remained flat.
Also, Christie may have a history of slashing education funding as a way to close budget holes, but the ad's claim about the most education funding, ever, is correct.
Ok, what? Forget the $1.3 billion he cut from state aid in the first year; this claim is about FY 2014. So he increased aid by $1 billion, but aid to schools only increased by $97 million. What's the rest of it for? The article doesn't say. And all of Wollmer's paragraph seems to be about an earlier budget; is any of it relevant to this discussion?
By the way, Wollmer is from the New Jersey Education Association, and they are pretty clearly anti-Christie. That's understandable, but this is supposed to be a fact-checking article. The point wasn't to balance Christie's claims with claims from someone on the opposite side of the issue. A fact checking article should just be checking the facts, not giving equal time to both sides. Couldn't they have found anyone who would just objectively say "Yes, this is a larger budget than ever" or "No, it's not."?
I expected this article to be looking at inflation or other technical details. Instead i got a mishmosh of details that don't add up to anything. It comes down to "Christie says this, Wollmer says that, believe what you like."
Compound that with another Ledger/Politifact article rating the AFL-CIO claim that Chris Christie cut education funding by $1.6B while giving out $2B in corporate tax breaks as "Mostly True", and only mostly because Christie's education cuts were $1billion, not $1.6 billion. But wait, that was in 2010.
Sussing things out further, here's an article from a different site, saying:
It's not easy to tell whether this is the most generous education budget in history or one of the most egregious, given the rhetoric coming from both sides in the debate.
That seems to answer some questions. The overall education budget for NJ is catching up to its 2010 levels, but the contribution from the state government is the largest ever. Right? And maybe the remainder of the $1 billion - $97 million is going to grants for construction costs?
It seems like someone can get the details if they really work at it, but that fact checker article doesn't do a bit of good.
By fnord12 | June 3, 2013, 2:39 PM | Liberal Outrage