Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We've Lost Governer Kaine

If you haven't seen the news reports today on Governor Kaine's state spending cuts, you need to read this to believe it. Among the cuts, 593 state employees will lose their jobs and several will take forced furloughs. The last thing we need in this economy is more unemployment (especially, in the effin' public sector). However, my biggest beef here is that:

  • Governor Kaine cut higher education funding by 15% in the state of Virginia. This is unconscionable. It is downright BS. I am, quite frankly, really effin' furious that the governor that I voted for would take such Draconian measures on higher education spending. Higher education is an investment. Due to these crazy cuts, tuition rates will increase significantly (as will the student loan burden for Virginia college students). Further, universities will make make huge cuts to their liberal arts programs, etc. (and the impact will be that Bob McDonnell will get what he wants... most of our state's universities will become glorified tech schools). I guess I'm especially sensitive to this because my dad and uncle are both retired professors... my uncle, specifically, is a retired chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Divsion at Virginia Tech. Kaine has significantly harmed higher education in this state (and believe me, if anyway thinks we have state-supported higher education institutions... we do not... we have state-assisted higher education institutions... and that is a substantial difference). Virginia's higher education institutions are world-class caliber and cannot sustain their high quality with these substantial cuts. Cutting higher education spending is not a progressive policy; it is regresive to the nth degree.

I'm very pissed at Kaine right now because he basically rode in on Mark Warner's coattails and really hasn't done anything in office of major importance for progressives. I won't be a complete a*hole... he's done some work reforming mental health institutions in the state (what governor wouldn't, though) and the non-smoking thing was a victory... but today, I'm not a happy camper. Governor Kaine should know that I did not like writing this, but it had to be said. I've been a supporter of the Governor and I do not like ripping my fellow Democrats, but this was the last straw with Kaine.


  1. Mark Warner cut $6 billion from the budget and waited til the economy was on the rebound to reallocate spending. The state constitution requires a balanced budget. Where would you have cut instead? Federal mandates for Medicaid, public safety, education? Let's face it, you don't get to be named the best managed state in the country if you have a lot of fluff in the budget.

  2. The Education loan is not enough to pay for you college education, you will need to look at another way to pay for your college education. You should look at getting some financial aid that offers free money. This can be found through grants for students and scholarships programs. You can also participate in some work study programs.

  3. Agree with Anon above... what else would you cut? Raise taxes? That's a bad idea in a recession, too. Kaine is in a tough spot. There are no good answers.

  4. This shouldn't be what turns someone against Kaine. That was the repeal of the paris hilton tax, but the annually appropriated budget is around $18-15 billion depending on the economy. (Its a bi-annual budget but I just divided by 2) He can propose cuts into what might be called "non-discretionary" funding, but that will result in the losss of matching federal funds which would equal an even bigger cut in state spending.

    Usually Kaine is a moron, but he is doing a pretty good job slashing the budget as best he can in the current environment. Maybe he should have made bigger cuts last year, but oh well, he didn't. Other than that what is he going to do?

  5. ELS, I agree that student loans aren't the only way to pay for college. Completely supportive of other methods to pay, like grants, etc. That wasn't the point of the post.

    Anon1 and Anon2, higher education funding is not fluff. I disagree with that characterization. I would argue cutting higher education funding could have a large impact on being names "best managed state in the country." What did Kaine do to work the legislators to avoid these cuts to higher education? You go with the premise that you immediately have to cut something and that's not necessarily the case here.

  6. I didn't suggest higher ed is fluff. I said there isn't much, if any, fluff left. I think the Governor properly acknowledged that these cuts are painful. But if the state constitution requires a balanced budget, and ours does, expenditures must = revenues. and if revenues are down, expenditures must be cut. Face it, there's no way the General Assembly will pass a tax increase and that's a good thing right now.