On today's edition of Your World, Neil Cavuto hosted Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, to talk about a leaked proposal from the president's upcoming budget that will provide "short-term relief to states saddled with unemployment insurance debt." Cavuto asked Meckler of the idea, "Well, it's just like more drugs, Mark, isn't it?"
Cavuto also asked, "Are people open to the serious kinds of cuts that would be necessary to do this? Because it's one thing when, let's say, a Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey is cutting a lot of programs, and a lot of people who aren't affected by those programs say, 'Well, that's OK, it's not me.' But then when it gets closer to home, then it's a big issue, right?"
In reality, since 2008 46 states have made drastic cuts "that hurt families and reduce necessary services." And regardless of whether Uncle Sam helps out - or Neil Cavuto notices - more cuts are coming.
A recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities detailed the breadth and depth of the massive budget cuts, as well as how these cuts hurt the most vulnerable and weaken the economy. The full report goes into much greater detail, but here's just a sampling of the cuts, from CBPP:
States began cutting their budgets in the spring of 2008, as the recession brought sharply weakened revenues. The cuts have intensified in the face of high and persistent unemployment. Even as the need for state-funded services rose, states cut funding for services by 4.2 percent for fiscal year 2009 and an additional 6.8 percent for 2010, according to estimates by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). NASBO projects that state spending for 2011 will remain 7.6 percent below 2008 levels. Indeed, the cuts that many states have enacted for FY2011 have been even more severe than those implemented in previous years. For example:
- An estimated 8,200 families in Arizona lost eligibility for temporary cash assistance as the time limit for that assistance is cut back to 36 months from 60.
- Colorado cut public school spending by $260 million, nearly a 5 percent decline from fiscal year 2010. The cut amounts to more than $400 per student.
- Florida's 11 public universities raised tuition by 15 percent for the 2010-11 academic year. This tuition hike, combined with a similar increase in 2009-10, results in a total two-year increase of 32 percent.
- In Minnesota, as a result of higher education funding cuts, approximately 9,400 students lost their state financial aid grants entirely, and the remaining state financial aid recipients will see their grants cut by 19 percent.
- Virginia's $700 million in K-12 education cuts for the current biennium include the state's share of an array of school district operating and capital expenses, and funding for class-size reduction in Kindergarten through third grade.
- Washington will reduce assistance for thousands of people who are physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to work in early 2011. For 28,000 adults receiving cash grants through the state's Disability Lifeline program, the typical monthly benefit will fall by $81 to $258 from $339.