by David Safier
(TASL) No matter how you slice and dice the number, the possibility of cutting 282 positions from TUSD is terrible news. This isn’t about trimming fat. It’s about cutting into the live tissue and muscle of the school district.
The final number of cuts probably won’t be that high. Typically, a District first reports the highest possible number of positions to be eliminated, then it figures out how to save some of the jobs. But if the number is half that, it will be terrible.
A perfect storm is sweeping across the nation, laying waste to state and local governments. We’re in an economic downturn, so tax revenues are dropping, while the price of oil and other goods and services is increasing. Meanwhile, the federal government is cutting back on educational grants.
If we were funding education adequately before, if we had accumulated a sizable rainy day fund, we could ride this out with some judicious trimming. But we’re starting with bare bones education, and we have no prior surpluses to fall back on.
This country is obsessed with the self destructive notion that our state governments are vastly overfunded and we’re paying a ridiculous amount of taxes. So whenever the Arizona economy is good and the state has a nickel and a dime to rub together, the Republican legislature uses that as an excuse to cut taxes. Then when things get bad, we have no cushion.
The conservatives insist that cutting taxes further will stimulate the economy, and everything will be all right. Why we even allow them time to pack their bags before we run them out of town is a mystery to me.