Thousands of Georgia teachers and other school workers — nurses, cafeteria supervisors, bus drivers and custodians — are losing their jobs due to another round of budget cuts. Salary cuts and furloughs are the new normal. Communities across Georgia are taking a big hit from the cuts. As one economist put it, “It is folly not to recognize the impact on the broader economic recovery.” Sarah Beth Gehl presents a few solutions to the school budget crisis.
The 2010 Georgia Legislature took some positive steps to address the state’s $5 billion budget deficit, such as passing bills to raise almost $375 million in new revenues and to improve tax collections and transparency. But it also approved long-term tax cuts ($624 million a year when fully implemented) that will shift the cost of government services onto middle-class and low-income Georgians, says the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.
Why should Georgia give corporations — including many based in other states and countries — a special tax break during a recession when it cannot afford to pay for schools, parks, courts and child protection? That is just what two House bills would do, even though more than half of corporations pay the minimum for the corporate net worth tax — just 10 bucks.
As families gather for Thanksgiving, we should consider that in just a decade Georgia has deteriorated from average (ranking 22nd) to 4th highest for food insecurity in the nation. One in seven Georgia households experienced food insecurity during 2006-2008, according to the USDA. These sobering numbers highlight the importance of focusing solutions on combating hunger and poverty in our communities.