O'Reilly misled convention week audience about education spending


At a convention week event in Boston on July 27 -- a panel discussion sponsored by The Creative Coalition titled "The Dialogue: Arts, Education and the 21st Century Economy" -- FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly misled the audience about the Bush administration's education budget. In response to statements by other participants, including moderator Andrew Cuomo (former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) and U.S. Representative Harold Ford (D-TN), that the Bush administration's primary education legislation initiative -- the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) -- has been underfunded because fewer dollars have been appropriated than were actually authorized by the legislation, O'Reilly said the following: "Underfunding is nonsense."

In fact, according to a House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democratic staff report, the president's budget for 2005 provides $9.4 billion less for NCLB programs than was authorized for them by Congress, the "3rd straight time" that NCLB programs would be denied "promised resources" since it was signed into law two years ago.

When the discussion turned to how to fund arts education, O'Reilly said, "You can't raise property taxes." In fact, property taxes have been rising, according to a June 30, 2003, article by Paul Weinstein Jr., a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, in Blueprint magazine:

Last year alone, property tax collections were rising more than 10 percent, with the average household paying $36 more than the year before. In some places, the increases have been much higher. In Atlanta, for example, city property taxes rose 50 percent in 2002.

According to a July 16 article by CNN/Money contributing columnist Gerri Willis, "Collections from property taxes are up 20 percent in the past three years ended in 2003."

During the panel's discussion about the tradeoff between military spending and spending for arts education, in which author Arianna Huffington asserted that there was more wasteful spending in the military than in education, O'Reilly said that the choice was between "singing a song" or not "getting a bullet in your head."

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2004 Elections
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