Yesterday, Republican Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2014-2015 budget. The focus of this budget by his detractors will be education spending, the same drum that has been beat for every year of his service. The saddest part of this whole debate is the misinformation that surrounds the budget generally but on education in particular.
Here is what the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has spent on basic education over the last decade preceding this budget:
2002-2003: $4.1 billion
2003-2004: $4.2 billion
2004-2005: $4.3 billion
2005-2006: $4.4 billion
2006-2007: $4.7 billion
2007-2008: $4.9 billion
2008-2009: $5.2 billion
2009-2010: $5.5 billion
2010-2011: $5.7 billion
2011-2012: $5.2 billion
2012-2013: $5.3 billion
2013-2014: $5.5 billion
2014-2015: $5.5 billion
The difference in education spending in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 was due to Democratic Governor Ed Rendell's decision to REDUCE the state's share of basic education funding and supplement the loss with Stimulus dollars from President Obama.
About $1 billion dollars in stimulus money was spread over two years. When the money dried up, there was nothing to replace it without raising taxes.
Rendell then took that money, used previously for basic education, and spent it elsewhere in the budget. This largess perpetuated by Rendell produced a $4.2 billion deficit by the time he left office.
Whether you agree with him or not, Corbett actually INCREASED the state's share of basic education funding to the pre-stimulus levels in his 2011-2012 budget and has increased it even beyond that since. Those are the facts.
Bias in the press surrounding Corbett becomes immediately apparent when members of the mainstream media decide to talk about the numbers of the budget without actually talking about the numbers, especially the stimulus numbers and Rendell's cuts to the state's share of basic education funding.