Saturday, June 13, 2009

indy star peddling falsehoods about the budget

if you're looking for information about the indiana budget debate, then do not start with this indy star article, because you'll only end up confused and misinformed.

for example, try this passage:

The Democrats' version isn't likely to survive given that Republicans dominate the state Senate. But were it to somehow make it through the legislature, the only options left to the state, Ruhl said, would be drastic cuts in services or a tax increase.

In part, that's because much of the federal stimulus money Democrats are relying on for spending, such as an increase in funding for universities, will have dried up, he said. Daniels, on the other hand, has proposed spending stimulus money only on one-time expenses such as construction projects.

well isn't that mighty responsible of governor daniels? why, i... hold on, what's this i read two paragraphs later?

Democrats have criticized Daniels for providing K-12 schools with only a 0.25 percent increase in funding, which, coupled with federal stimulus money for special education and low-income students, would amount to a total 2 percent increase.

but i thought the gov's budget spent stimulus money "only on one-time expenses such as construction projects"? now you're saying he wants to use stimulus money to beef up the education budget? which is true? (the latter.) and how is this not exactly the same as what democrats were criticized for doing two paragraphs earlier?

then, in the very next paragraph, you find this:

Under Daniels' plan, each district in the state would see more money on a per-student basis, but urban districts with shrinking enrollment would see large decreases in funding.

whoa, so under the governor's budget, each district "would see more money on a per-student basis"? and yet, urban districts would see large decreases? how does that make sense? (it doesn't—it's false.)

in truth, the governor's education budget has a "per-student" increase, which means that the amount of funding per student technically goes up when averaged across the entire state. but the actual amounts going to the various school districts will only go up in districts where enrollment is rising. districts where enrollment is decreasing (translation: urban districts like IPS) will face major cuts under the governor's budget. state support for IPS would be slashed by $43 million!

now, i expect republicans to say things about democrats that are misleading or sometimes downright false, like the disingenuous things budget director chris ruhl is quoted as saying in the article. but for a supposed news article like this one to include two plainly false claims, asserted as fact, is just sloppy journalism.

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