Friday, February 5, 2010

Vi Simpson Responds

January 29, 2010

Dear Mrs. Harris,

Thank you for your recent email expressing your concern with the cuts made to the education budget. I appreciate you taking the time to provide such thoughtful suggestions for alternative ways to address the proposed funding shortfall. I have noted your ideas about ISTEP testing and will continue to research these options.

In announcing his cuts to both K-12 and higher education, the Governor is relying on information from an updated revenue forecast that was presented to the budget committee in December. Unfortunately, the revenue forecasts used incomplete information to reach its conclusions.

I believe the governor is acting prematurely by cutting education. The state has a 1.4 billion dollar reserve, including the rainy day fund, which could be used to hold us over until the revenue picture becomes clearer after income tax filings. The Governor has the authority to reduce or withhold budget allocations or distributions, but he also has the ability to restore cuts should the revenue picture improve. The budget agency, which is part of the executive branch, made several reductions in several important areas that were covered by the legislative budget that we produced. The Governor is ignoring the priorities set out by the legislature.

Be assured that I am staying on top of this. Hopefully, we will find positive improvements in the state's revenue picture and we will be able to restore the cuts that the Governor made to education.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please continue to keep me informed on matters of concern to you.


Vi Simpson
State Senator
District 40

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