The Policy Connection 2013 Student Blogger Contest
2nd prize entry: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in Massachusetts, what does this mean?
It happens to be a snowy day in March and I sit in the comfort of my warm (relatively) house in the suburbs of Boston. I am a middle-aged graduate student at Wheelock College studying contemporary issues of children and families. One of our assignments is to research and report on a personal topic of interest. Professionally, I am the Director of Training at the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women. I could write extensively on the importance of afterschool for children and youth, but today I must write on another topic.
A few years ago my daughter, while in college in Connecticut, invited me to a community gathering she helped organize on human trafficking. The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness of the topic and to encourage attendees to take action to help support young women who are lured or forced into a captive life of servitude or sexual exploitation. The impetus nationwide is to provide supports for the women to decriminalize their actions and to find, prosecute, and penalize the "johns" and pimps. At the time Massachusetts was one of three states without human trafficking legislation.
Today, Massachusetts has legislation in place against human trafficking but it is time to enact new legislation to protect a particularly vulnerable group of young adults who can fall prey to those who would enslave them into a life of sexual exploitation. These youth are called "unaccompanied homeless youth" and are defined as 1) under the age of 25 and 2) not in the physical custody or care of a parent or legal guardian and 3) lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing. My intent is to draw attention to the importance of passing legislation to support unaccompanied homeless youth to them help avoid mental trauma, dropping out of school, living on the street, or becoming victims of human tracking. The multiple risks faced by homeless youth trying to survive on their own demand solutions that encompass stable housing, access to mental health services, job and skill development, etc. Therefore, legislation or state funding through line item budgeting is needed to enable these wraparound services.
First we must find these young people. An anecdotal phrase that describes one survival mode is "couch surfing." This term refers to youth that move from house to house seeking temporary refuge with help from relatives, friends or strangers. Others live on the street trying to survive by work (hard to get) or petty crime, selling drugs, trading sex for food or money or get caught up in the ravages of prostitution and illegal activities. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) estimates that there are approximately 6,000 high school students unaccompanied and homeless. This figure does not include those who have already dropped out of school or older youth aged out of the school system.
A classmate of mine "adopted" a homeless high school senior when her son brought him home one day saying that he had nowhere to live. He stayed for the remainder of the school year and enlisted in the U.S. Army upon graduation. This boy is fortunate- care came to him, but it is estimated by the Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth that 50 high school students were homeless in the same town as this boy that year. It is unlikely many of those adolescents were as lucky.
I am grateful for my warm house and my family. I am so far removed from the experience of homelessness that it is hard for me to picture the day-to-day suffering of those affected. I donate money and I volunteer at a downtown shelter, but that is easy and I always go home to my own bed. Some reports describe the effects of street life as mirroring post-traumatic stress syndrome. We can look to nonprofits and churches to assist but it is time to act legislatively. We have the means to offer help and support through our public institutions and through our policing response. The human trafficking legislation passed in Massachusetts to protect vulnerable children, such as homeless youth, from sexual exploitation is proof of that fact. Giving first responders the ability to safeguard youth rather than arrest them, similar to the human trafficking legislation, is essential. Massachusetts has taken steps in this direction but it must go further with legislation and/or budgeting specifically directed towards unaccompanied homeless youth. I urge you to support the work of the Massachusetts Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission in addressing this issue. Visit the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless for more information and steps you can take.
Homelessness in Massachusetts Public Schools. from http://www.mahomeless.org/images/2011_data_8-12.pdf
About the author
Educational Studies Graduate Student (degree expected Dec. 2013)
As the Director of Training at the National Institute on Out-of-School Time I work to support the professional development of afterschool staff. My primary focus is on the use of assessment tools to improve program quality and to help youth reach positive outcomes.
1st prize entry: It's Time for Feminism by Haley Weinreich
I've done a lot of things this year. I've started my junior year at Wheelock College, I (finally) moved out of my parent's house, and I begrudgingly learned how to pay my own bills. But, by far, the most important thing I've done this year was discover feminism. Feminism is a scary word to a lot of people, and it should be. Feminism means refusing to accept the way things operate in our society. It means that things are going to change.
Feminism means equal pay for women. It means self-governance over our own bodies. It means leadership opportunities, shattering the glass ceiling, being able to comfortably walk alone at night, and it means that your gender doesn't determine the way you're treated in this society.
I was prompted to write about a pressing social problem, one that community leaders or activists can address, and the steps they might take to resolve it. Picking the unpopular hot button issue of feminism probably won't help my chances of getting this published, but this is the most pressing social issue in my life, as I experience oppression based solely on my gender every single day. I am tired of being told I should be more focused on finding a husband than pursuing a career in politics. I am tired of being told that ‘I'm smart- for a girl.' I am tired of the way I dress determining the way people treat me. Most of all, I am tired of knowing that I'm not alone in this exhaustion. These experiences are unfortunately not unique to me. Instead they are the collective experiences of the sisters, mothers, wives, girlfriends, and daughters that have the audacity of being born female.
Change will not come easily or quickly. A simple shift in policy will not do the trick, nor will personally identifying as a feminist. We need a multigenerational societal solution for a multigenerational societal problem. Lawmakers can do a better job of introducing and passing bills pertaining to equal rights for women. Businesses can do a better job of hiring women for the positions they are qualified to assume. Schools can do a better job of instilling equality among their male and female students. We can all do better.
It's time for a change. We live in a flawed society—one dictated by media and politics instead of knowledge and compassion. I want to live in a world where I have a say in the way things are run, and one where my gender doesn't decide if I achieve my dreams. I was 18 years old before I saw the first female Senator of Massachusetts elected, and frankly that was 18 years too long. It's time for women in powerful positions to not be an anomaly. It's time for little girls who dream of being President or working on Capitol Hill or running a company to have living proof that it is not only possible, but that it's achievable. It's time for men and women to realize this problem is not a ‘woman's issue,' it's an economic issue, a family issue, a human rights issue, and a public safety issue. It's time for us to organize and refuse to accept the society we live in is a lost cause. I came to Wheelock College for one very specific reason—to inspire a world of good. It's time for all of us to take on that challenge, to better ourselves, our families, our communities, our states, our country, and our world.
It's time for Feminism.
About the author
My name is Haley Weinreich, and I'm graduating in 2015 with a double major in Political Science & Global Studies as well as American Studies. I plan on pursuing graduate degree in Political Science, and hope to one day represent the people of Massachusetts in Washington DC. I'm interested in politically advocating for marginalized demographics, and increasing political participation among my fellow students and citizens.
Fact Sheet—President Obama's Plan for Early Education for all Americans
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. As part of that effort, the President will propose a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child—beginning at birth and continuing to age 5. By doing so, the President would invest critical resources where we know the return on our dollar is the highest: in our youngest children.
By Mary Battenfeld
On Monday night, cameras flashed, hugs were exchanged, and everyone congratulated the External Advisory Committee on School Choice on its selection of a new student assignment plan for the Boston Public Schools. Based in both family address and school MCAS performance, the assignment model answers the call for "quality schools, close to home."
Or does it? Driving to my house after the Beacon Hill meeting, through Chinatown, the South End, Roxbury, and finally to Jamaica Plain, I worried about children who have no quality schools close to home.
Children like those in a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to receive a Pulitzer Prize. Brooks begins with a haunting question:
"What shall I give my children? who are poor,
Who are adjudged the leastwise of the land?"
What we give our children - mine, yours, and the ones in the poem - is what school assignment is all about. Children are our hearts and our hopes, wrapped in one beautiful but fragile package. A high-quality school sends our children out to a better future, while a poor one imperils them.
The assignment model now before the Boston School Committee could potentially give children more equal access to high quality schools. But in its current form, the "Home-Based A" plan essentially guarantees neighborhood schools while merely promising quality schools. It rewards more affluent neighborhoods with access to good schools, even as it leaves poorer neighborhoods and communities of color with many low-performing schools, and no certain path to better ones.
Compare, for example, the choices of a family on Moss Hill, one of Jamaica Plain's wealthier areas, to that of a family in Roxbury's Grove Hall. The Moss Hill child gets a bucket teeming with quality schools, including seven in the top two levels, and just one school in the lowest MCAS ranking.
For the Grove Hall family, two top-tier and four second-tier schools are mandated by the Home-Based A plan. But their bucket also includes seven of the city's worst performing schools. Just 42 percent of a Grove Hall family's choices are quality schools. On Moss Hill, it's 87 percent.
That's inequity, as stark and bleak as City Hall Plaza. And while the home-based plan may not be the blizzard of inequitable access that some other plans would have been, it's still a substantial storm.
Instead of providing mechanisms to plow away that inequity, the External Advisory Committee left with a promise to get to it later. It kept in place the so-called walk-zone priority that favors those with good neighborhood schools. Nor was anything done to assure a more proportional balance of quality schools in address-based choice baskets. In the end the advisory committee also gave up on tools to chip away at socioeconomic inequity, such as reserving seats in quality schools for families who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Student assignment alone cannot fix the crushing disparities in our city's schools. But we can use it to make things better, or worse. We can accept inequality and segregation as inevitable, or turn education, as the great nineteenth century reformer Horace Mann put it, into "the balance wheel of the social machinery."
I hope the Boston School Committee remembers this, as it considers the new plan, along with the advisory committee's recommendations regarding accountability, quality, and equity. School Committee members should take their time and listen to parents and community groups. They shouldn't buy into the claim, contradicted by decades of research, that good schools grow organically from neighborhood soil.
Instead, the School Committee should cultivate the new plan's potential for equity by eliminating the walk-zone preference that diminishes opportunities for children who live farther from quality schools. It should also insist that the district present a capital plan for long-term quality improvement. Last, the School Committee should pick up the ball dropped by the school choice panel and implement specific assignment interventions for children "adjudged the leastwise" of our city.
Boston arose as a city on a hill, not separate territorial blocks. Cities don't strengthen community by hunkering down in isolated neighborhoods. Cities, and city schools, become stronger when we stride across boundaries and, in the words of school assignment panel co-chair Hardin Coleman, "have skin" in every part of the diverse Boston we all call home.
Mary Battenfeld, a parent of children in the Boston Public Schools, is a professor at Wheelock College and a member of Quality Education for Every Student.
Any opinions expressed here, except as specifically noted, are those of the individual author or commenter and do not represent an institutional position.
Choosing Growth in Our Communities
Click here to be taken to a new tool to explore the many ways that the MA Governor's Plan will help our communities. You will be able to see things like the roads and bridges that will be rebuilt, the schools that will be better funded, and the numbers of kids who will be moved off the waiting list and into quality early ed in your community.
Other Resources: FY 2014 House 1 Budget Recommendation--Issues in Brief
January Updates on Early Education and Care in Massachusetts
On January 16, 2013, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a report outlining: "Declines in Spending on Early Education and Care in Massachusetts." Click here to read about trends in state and federal funding for early education and care programs in MA.
This report comes at the same time of Governor Deval Patrick's announcement of his plan to expand early childhood education and make higher education more affordable by implementing the following:
Providing universal access to high quality early education for children across the state, from birth through age five.
Fully funding K-12 education and allow for extended school days in high-need schools.
Making college more affordable and accessible for high school graduates.
Allowing community colleges to expand their efforts to provide students with the knowledge and skill training needed to succeed in the workplace.
Plan will filed with the Governor's FY14 budget proposal next week, totals approximately $550 million in its first year and increases to nearly $1 billion annually over the next four.
Stay tuned to the Policy Connection for further information on these issues.
6 Days until Election Day
With just 6 days to go until Election Day on Tuesday, November 6th, Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican Nominee Governor Mitt Romney are fiercely campaigning for the presidency throughout the nation. Here's what the polls are saying as of October 31st:
Source: Real Clear Politics - http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html
What's more, we might see a repeat of the 2000 election again, with a candidate assuming the presidency by winning the Electoral College but losing the popular vote a possibility. Read more here - http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/a-popularelectoral-split/
Above all, one thing is clear - every vote will matter! Please do not forget to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6th!
Over the past few months, the Office of Residence Life and the Policy Connection have received numerous questions from students and parents on voting. How do I obtain an absentee ballot for my home state? What is the voting registration deadline? What are the best websites to reference for information on the candidates? To aid students in gathering information on the election, registering to vote and obtaining absentee ballots, the Office of Residence Life organized a voter registration initiative during the first week of October. By providing a central voter hub, Residence Life facilitated the voter registration and/or absentee ballot requests for 130 students. According to Resident Director Cortney Tunis, the initiative was received enthusiastically by many students who quickly spread the word to their friends to encourage them to stop by the table. By downloading and printing forms, copying ID's as needed, and providing postage, Residence Life's setup in Campus Center was a start to finish voter registration center. For students who were unsure if or where they were registered, the team directed them to the appropriate contacts in their hometown. Websites recommended to students for voter information are www.LongDistanceVoter.org andwww.RockTheVote.com. For students who were unsure about which candidate to vote for, a suggested resource to take a comprehensive quiz on the issues to learn which Presidential candidate best represents his/her is http://www.isidewith.com/.
For comprehensive voting information visit: http://www.wheelock.edu/policy-connection/voting
Don't forget Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day!
MA State Budget Approved with Minor Exceptions
On July 8, 2012 Governor Deval Patrick approved a $32.477 billion state budget for FY 2013 put forth by the legislature with only minor vetoes. The budget features much expanded Chapter 70 aid to local school districts for K-12 and additional funding to improve achievement gaps in the state's "Gateway" cities. Conversely, the state will slash funding by $8.1 million to early education programs that subsidized child care through three separate state initiatives. For a summary of Governor Patrick's vetoes and proposed supplemental budget, click here.
For close coverage on how the state budget will affect children and their families, check out the Massachusetts Budget Policy Center's KIDS COUNT.
FY2013 General Appropriations Act1
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Children and Families
The 5-4 ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment to date, elicited a sigh of relief from virtually every child-focused organization in the United States. Their responses conveyed a sense of excitement for the bill's impact on children's health but also growing unease with the bill's implementation moving forward.
The court found the function used by the federal governments to force state governments to accept the bill's reform or risk losing all federal Medicaid funding unconstitutionally violated state sovereignty. Many children's groups fear that their state will simply refuse to enact the reforms outlined in the Affordable Care Act with serious negative repercussions for the most vulnerable children and families.
In a lively exchange with former Governor Howard Dean on Meet the Press, current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal defended his plan to do just that. Dean argued Louisiana's dismal performance in many key health indicators, including placing 48th in child poverty, premature deaths and industrial accidents, precipitated a pressing need for the offered federal Medicare expansion. Governor Jindal responded that despite these statistics the threat of fiscal calamity from such a large expansion in federal entitlement spending outweighed the possible benefit to health outcomes.
Candidate Mitt Romney has stated that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected president this November though the Obama administration has indicated that the bill will be fully implemented by that time. Some of the bill's provisions have already gone into effect, including a provision that prohibits denying coverage to children based on a pre-existing condition to be expanded to all ages in 2014. Families with adult children can now keep them on their family health plan until age 26.
Some advocates have stipulated that the biggest gains for children will come from the bill's expansion of access to primary preventative care. Under the ACA, new health plans starting in 2014 will have to cover pregnancy & newborn care thus reducing expensive complications due to birth related problems in the mother and child. The new plans will also include dental and vision coverage.
Currently, 7.8% of all children in the United States lack health insurance as of 2010 and 4.9% lack access to any sort of usual health care. While a seemingly small percentage, uninsured children represent 5.8 million total persons. Given that childhood obesity rates have over tripled in the past 30 years and represented 30% of all children under 18 as of 2008 access to quality healthcare represents a pressing need. While undoubtedly imperfect, the ACA may help lessen the chance that this generation will hold the dubious distinction of being the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
The Affordable Care Act: So what happens now?
Now that the initial hubbub surround the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act we can all pause for a deep breath and look at the road ahead.
The 5-4 majority found an unusual ally in Chief Justice John Roberts, who may well have decided based on the increasingly partisan image of the Court over his own ideological sympathies. Many Republicans expressed indignation at Justice Roberts’ perceived betrayal while Democrats breathed an audible sigh of relief after disastrous oral arguments had many believing the bill doomed.
That said the Act faces some uncertainties despite its newly minted constitutional status. The Supreme Court did strike down the provision of the bill that would have denied state federal Medicare funds should they fail to comply with the Act’s other provisions. The loss of this kind of leverage has led some Republican governors to state that they will refuse to comply with certain provisions of the act. Whether they actually will do so is another question entirely, it is difficult to see states forgoing any federal monies at a time when their coffers are continually coming up empty.
The ruling will certainly play a role in the November 2012 elections though probably not a decisive one. Political commentators have given the partisan advantage on the issue to both sides. In all likelihood, the ruling gives the Obama administration a pass on a potentially humiliating debacle (should the Act have been overturned) but one that will not likely have a huge impact electorally. The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will not convince any Republicans to vote for Obama while approval of the Act has not changed much and remains split largely along partisan lines.
More to come on this topic including how the Supreme Court’s ruling will affect children and families.
The MA House Budget Proposal for FY 2013
The Massachusetts House of Representatives finalized their budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013, after amending the proposal offered by the Ways and Means Committee. The House budget proposal restored funding for Public Health programs the Ways and Means budget planned to cut by $20 million. However, despite these changes the House budget is similar to the Ways & Means proposal in that it relies heavily on temporary revenue to fill the state's $1.3 billion deficit. Both the House and Ways and Means proposals contrast with the Governor's proposal which includes temporary and new, ongoing revenue from taxes.
These charts from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (http://massbudget.org/report_window.php?loc=budget_monitor_house_fy13.php) show how the House proposal compares to the Governor's proposal.
Stand Your Ground
Analysis by Chikere Uchegbu
Not since the Emmett Till tragedy has any event galvanized the civil rights movement as much as witnessed in America in the last 5 weeks. The February 26 shooting in Florida of 17 year old Trayvon Martin by self proclaimed ‘neighborhood watch captain' George Zimmerman has brought Americans of all hues together in a collective condemnation of what has been described as ‘an unnecessary loss of life'.
Since the night of this tragic event, more than 500,000 people have signed a petition calling for the arrest of the self confessed shooter. The petitioners have reserved their most caustic criticism for the Sanford police department who failed to arrest Mr. Zimmerman for what they describe as an unprovoked attack on an unarmed teen. In their defense, the Sanford police described Mr. Zimmerman's claim of acting in self defense as prohibiting them from arresting him based on a Florida statue called ‘Stand Your Ground'. In the wake of the protests, the Sanford police Chief has temporarily stepped down from his position while the investigation is now being conducted by a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, and overseen by the Federal Justice department.
First enacted in Florida in 2005, the Stand Your Ground law eliminates the hoary legal requirement that a person threatened outside of his or her home retreat rather than use force. Of the fifty states that make up our union, more than 20 of them have one variation of the ‘stand your ground' law or another. However, the Florida statute has been called unique in its own right. In chapter 776 - Justifiable Use of Force, the Florida statute offers "immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force" (776.032) further explaining that the term "criminal prosecution" includes "arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant." It is levied on the arresting agency to determine that a ‘probable cause' exists that would suggest the force that was used was unlawful.
Chris Serino, the lead investigator in the case, has stated that he wanted the 28-year old George Zimmerman held behind bars on the night of the shooting, but was overruled by the state Attorney's office that held that there wasn't enough evidence to lead to a conviction. So not only did this statute prevent the arrest of George Zimmerman on the night of the shooting, but it has also opened up the investigation -or lack thereof- to public criticism, and a citizens analysis of what may or may not have happened that night. As Terry Moran described it on the ABC News show This Morning with George Stephanopoulos, "there is this kind of macabre national game show" analyzing the evidence in this case. These are deliberations and analysis typically reserved for members of a jury to debate and the Florida law "short circuits" this process.
Critics of the Stand Your Ground law, including former President Bill Clinton, have called for a review of the law in its many variations. In what appears to be an apparent admission of the flaws -in design or application- of the law, Gov. Scott has promised to create a task force to review the law as well. As critics of describe it, the Florida law prohibits the police from arresting anyone that invokes the Stand Your Ground law making it difficult for the courts to review the evidence, thereby circumventing the constitutional guarantees of due process.
As the United States grows in diversity, many schools face challenges when it comes to accommodating multilingual children. From Boston to Chicago to Houston, providing strong learning systems for English Language Learners is an important new tasks many school districts are now faced with.
In Boston, Dr. Miren Uriarte, a Professor of Human Services and Community Studies and Senior Research Associate at the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at UMass Boston, conducted research on supporting the needs of English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools. Her report, Improving Educational Outcomes of English Language Learners in Schools and Programs in Boston Public Schools, can be found here. Dr. Uriarte was also a visiting scholar at Wheelock College in February 2012 and gave a special lecture on her findings.
President Obama's Campaign for College Affordability
In President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address he called for a doubling of Work-Study funding, a freeze on a scheduled interest increase for student loans, and an extension of the tuition tax credit - according to a report from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
The NAICU report also highlighted President Obama's warning to colleges, "If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down."
This proposal, announced in the State of the Union, would take federal aid away from schools that don't "keep tuition down and provide good value," according to the White House document Blueprint For An America Built to Last. This proposal is both celebrated and feared. As a more defined plan develops, we should all have our eyes on the future of financial aid!
- For an interesting analysis of what this proposal could mean for colleges check out the Inside Higher Ed Report Warnings of Unintended Consequences
- President Obama kicked off his campaign for college affordability at the University of Michigan on Friday, January 27. Click here to read about his announced plans.
Federal Pell Grant Payment and Dispersal Schedule 2012-2013 Announced
The Department of Education has released the 2012-2013 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules. The maximum Pell Grant for the 2012-2013 award year is still $5,550, the same amount it was during the 2011-2012 award year. The minimum grant award has also stayed the same (10% of the maximum, or $555).
However, what has changed is the definition of who has access to the minimum amount. Last year, students who were only eligible for 5% of the maximum grant award were "bumped up" to receive the minimum $555. In the 2012-2013 year, this will no longer happen. NO ONE will get bumped up. So, students who are eligible for 1-9 percent of the $5,500 maximum will receive NO Pell Grant. Only students who are eligible for 10% or more of the grant funding will receive a Federal Pell Grant.
To view the 2012-2013 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules click here.
What Governor Patrick's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Says about Financial Aid & Community College
The Governor's budget proposes many changes to the state's community college system. The commonwealth will offer an additional $10.4 million in funds (to a total of $218.6 million) to community colleges, but will also demand new coordination between community colleges and local businesses. The Governor wants community colleges to focus on job training and coordinate course offerings with the needs of local employers.
The Governor plans to fund state campuses with the same funds as last year (UMass campuses receive $418 million and State Universities receive $191.6 million). However, the budget also includes $43.5 million in "separate collective bargaining accounts that relate to labor costs at each of the campuses," according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
The budget also gives $87.5 million to the State Scholarship Program, very close to level funding from FY 2012.
To read more about the controversy surrounding Governor Patrick's Community College reform plans check out this Boston Business Journal article.
Massachusetts FY2013 Budget
On January 25, 2012 Governor Deval Patrick released the 2013 fiscal year budget for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The state government is funded on a fiscal year basis. The 2013 fiscal year runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.
The Governor plans to balance the budget through cuts and other savings. Some of these cuts are clearly labeled, while others may appear "level-funded" in the new budget - meaning that they are funded at the same dollar amount in FY 2013 as FY 2012, but due to inflation this static budget actually ends up being less money than what was received last year. The Governor's Proposal also includes increasing the cigarette tax and taxing candy and soda.
For a summary of the 2013 Budget click here.
For the Governor's official press release click here.
For More Current Topics click here.