K-12 Tax & Spending Climate & Local Property Tax Increase Rhetoric

Walter Alarkon:

President Barack Obama’s budget will lead to deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, the CBO estimated Friday.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said President Barack Obama’s budget would lead to annual deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.
The estimates are for larger deficits than the budget shortfalls expected by the White House.
Annual deficits under Obama’s budget plan would be about $976 billion from 2011 through 2020, according to a CBO analysis of Obama’s plan released Friday.

Susan Troller:

Madison school ‘budget gap’ really a tax gap
Try “tax gap” or “revenue problem.” These are terms that Superintendent Dan Nerad — who is slated to offer his budget recommendations to the School Board on March 8 — and other school district players are starting to use to describe the financial troubles the district is facing.
What’s commonly been defined as the district’s budget gap in the past — the difference between the cost to continue existing programs and salaries and what the district is allowed to tax under state revenue caps — is actually $1.2 million. That’s the amount the district would still have to cut if the board were willing to tax to the maximum amount allowed under the state revenue limits. (And in past years, Madison and almost every other district in the state have taxed to the limit.) But if you add in the drop in revenue from the state — about $17 million for the 2010-2011 budget — the gap grows to $18.2 million.
It’s fair to ask then, what makes up the other $11.6 million that the administration calls the $29.8 million 2010-2011 budget gap? In a rather unorthodox manner, Nerad and company are including two other figures: $4 million in levying authority the district was granted through the 2008 referendum and $7.6 million in levying authority within the revenue limit formula.
Confused? You’re not alone. It’s got many folks scratching their heads. But the bottom line is this: Although the district has the authority to raise property taxes up to $312 on an average $250,000 home, it’s unlikely the board would want to reap that amount of revenue ($11.6 million) from increased taxes. Large property tax hikes — never popular — are particularly painful in the current economy.

The Madison School District has yet to release consistent total spending numbers for the current 2009/2010 budget or a total budget number for 2010-2011. Continuing to look at and emphasize in terms of public relations, only one part of the puzzle: property taxes seems ill advised.
The Madison School District Administration has posted 2010-2011 “Budget Gap” notes and links here, largely related to the property tax, again. only one part of the picture. For reference, here’s a link to the now defunct 2007-2008 Citizen’s Budget.
Doug Erickson has more:

Madison school administrators laid out a grim list of possible cuts big and small Friday that School Board members can use as a starting point to solve a nearly $30 million hole in next year’s budget.
The options range from the politically painless — restructuring debt, cutting postage costs — to the always explosive teacher layoffs and school closings.
But the school-closing option, which would close Lake View, Lindbergh and Mendota elementary schools on the city’s North Side as part of a consolidation plan, already appears to be a nonstarter. A majority of board members said they won’t go there.
“It’s dead in the water for me,” said Lucy Mathiak, board vice president.
President Arlene Silveira said the option is not on the table for her, either. Ditto for board members Marj Passman and Maya Cole, who said she immediately crossed out the option with a red pen.
Board members could decide to raise taxes enough to cover almost all of the $30 million, or they could opt to not raise taxes at all and cut $30 million. Neither option is considered palatable to board members or most residents, so some combination of the two is expected.