Governors Proposing Cuts in Services—Cuts That Will Affect Children

Proposed cuts to non-education children’s programs

Below are some of the health care, mental health, and child care cuts Governors are offering. Both at the federal level and the state level, children are being asked to pay for the mistakes made by adults. Education, health care, and safety programs have been cut for years now in states and various members of Congress are proposing federal cuts that will dramatically reduce these programs as well. State cuts being proposed include:

  • Arizona – Governor Brewer is proposing eliminating Medicaid coverage for 280,000 people, more than 4 percent of the state’s population, including children.
  • California – Governor Brown is proposing scaling back the state’s Healthy Families (CHIP) program by eliminating vision benefits, increasing premiums for families with incomes between 150 and 250 percent of poverty, and increasing co-payments, among other cuts. Brown also proposes cutting $750 million from child care programs, in part by reducing subsidies by 35 percent and requiring recipients to have incomes less than 60 percent of the state’s median income (down from 75 percent of the median income today). The Governor’s proposal would reduce the number of subsidized childcare slots by about 9,900, or 3 percent.

  • Delaware – Governor Markell would eliminate a General Assistance program that provides cash assistance to people in deep poverty and who are often homeless. This includes families with children.
  • Georgia – Governor Deal proposes cuts to several areas of Medicaid and children’s health. Children’s services would be subject to co-pays for the first time. Governor Deal is also proposing funding subsidized child care at a level that would reduce the monthly number of children served by as many as 10,000 and create a waiting list of up to 4,000 children.
  • Kansas – Governor Brownback is proposing eliminating funding for mental health services for 850 families of children with severe emotional disturbances.
  • Texas – The state’s initial budget proposal would cut Medicaid provider rates by 10 percent, making it more difficult for Texas doctors to accept Medicaid patients because of the state’s low reimbursement levels relative to other states, further restricting low-income Texan children’s access to health care.
  • Washington – Governor Gregoire’s budget proposes eliminating a health program for 27,000 undocumented children.

Proposed cuts to higher education

These cuts will make it harder for today’s children to get affordable higher education and will harm our economy in the future. Higher education cuts being proposed include:

  • Arizona – Governor Brewer is proposing cutting funding for public universities by one-fifth, or $170 million. This would add to deep previous cuts:  from 2008 through 2011, state support for universities fell by $230 million, resulting in the elimination of more than 2,100 positions (an 11 percent reduction in the workforce).  Universities have raised tuition significantly, closed eight extended campuses, and merged, consolidated, or disestablished 182 colleges, schools, programs, and departments.  Combined with those previous cuts, Brewer’s proposal would bring per-student state funding down to 46 percent below pre-recession levels. Governor Brewer is also proposing to cut community college funding for operating expenses by about $73 million. The cut amounts to 6.2 percent of total community college operating revenues and half of all state support for community colleges.
  • California – Governor Brown is proposing significant cuts to higher education.  He would increase fees at community colleges by 38 percent; for the average student, this would mean an annual fee increase of $300.  He is also proposing to reduce funding for the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) systems by $1 billion ($500 million each).  Both the UC and CSI systems already have been cut deeply since the recession struck; the governor’s proposal would reduce UC funding to levels last seen in the 1998-1999 fiscal year, when the system had 73,600 (31 percent) fewer students than it does today, and would reduce CSU funding to levels last seen in the 1999-2000 fiscal year, when the system had almost 70,000 (16 percent) fewer students than it does today.
  • Georgia – Governor Deal’s budget would cut funding for a popular merit-based college scholarship program by about one-third, cut university funding by 10 percent, and cut funding for technical colleges by 6 percent.
  • Iowa – Governor Branstad is proposing state support for public universities that is 6 percent below FY11 levels, which the state Board of Regents say may result in higher tuition, larger classes, and more teaching assistants and adjunct faculty teaching undergraduate courses.
  • Missouri – Governor Nixon is proposing cutting state support for higher education by 7 percent, which has led the state’s university system to propose tuition hikes for next school year ranging from 4.7 percent to 6.6 percent.  The proposed cuts would continue a trend of declining state support for Missouri’s universities; over the last decade, state support has fallen 28 percent.
  • Nevada – Governor Sandoval would reduce the state funding for higher education by 18 percent and give the Board of Regents full discretion over raising tuition to make up for the loss in funds.
  • New Mexico – Governor Martinez is proposing a 5 percent cut in funding for public universities.
  • New York – Governor Cuomo is proposing cutting state support for the State University of New York (SUNY) system by 9.1 percent and reducing state support for the City University of New York (CUNY) system by 5.2 percent.  These reductions would come on top of substantial cuts in previous years, which have resulted in (among other consequences) a 14 percent SUNY tuition increase.
  • Oregon – Governor Kitzhaber is proposing cutting state funding for community colleges per full-time student by 11 percent, to $1,559 from $1,744. The governor is also proposing cutting state support for the Oregon University System by 4.9 percent from FY 2009-2011 levels, and recommends giving university graduate and professional programs more flexibility in raising tuition.
  • Texas – The state’s budget would cut public college and university funding by 16 percent, likely forcing tuition increases, reductions in course offerings, and layoffs.  The budget would also cancel funding for four community colleges, and it would eliminate financial aid awards for new students under the Texas Grant program, which combines state and institutional money to cover tuition and fees at public schools for 87,000 students with financial need and good academic records.
  • Washington – Governor Gregoire is proposing cutting state funding for colleges and universities by $345 million and allowing them to make up for most of this loss through tuition increases. She is also proposing reducing by 2,800 the number of students receiving state work-study funds.

Proposed cuts to K-12

After several years of deep budget cutting, Governors have begun to propose even deeper cuts this year. Since much of what the state government spends on includes public education and Medicaid, children will bear the brunt of these cuts. Education cuts being proposed include:

  • Colorado – Former Governor Ritter’s budget would underfund by $123 million the state’s K-12 education formula, which is designed to ensure that fu
    nding keeps pace with the growth in the number of students and inflation.  This amounts to a $40-per-student reduction.
  • Georgia – Governor Deal proposes to cut state and lottery funds for pre-kindergarten by 5.6 percent.  This would require eliminating 4,500 pre-K slots, reducing payments to providers by nearly $230 per child, or a mix of cutting slots and reducing payments.
  • Iowa – Governor Branstad proposes to eliminate the state’s voluntary preschool program, replacing it with a means-tested voucher program, and halving other state funds that help children access preschool.  As a result, state support for preschool will decline by 41 percent.
  • Kansas – Governor Brownback proposes a $232 per-pupil cut in K-12 base student funding, bringing base funding nearly 6 percent below fiscal year 2011 levels.
  • Mississippi – Governor Barbour’s budget would fail — for the fourth year in a row — to meet the state’s statutory obligation to support K-12 schools, underfunding school districts by 11 percent or $231 million.  The statutory school funding formula is designed to ensure adequate funding for lower-income and underperforming schools. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the state’s failure to meet that requirement over the past three years has resulted in 2,060 school employee layoffs (704 teachers, 792 teacher assistants, 163 administrators, counselors, and librarians, and 401 bus drivers, custodians, and clerical personnel).
  • Missouri – Governor Nixon proposes freezing funding for K-12 education at 2011 levels. This would mean that for the second year in a row, the state has failed to meet the statutory funding formula established to ensure equitable distribution of state dollars to school districts.
  • Nebraska – Governor Heineman also proposes to freeze K-12 funding.  If it is enacted, funding would fall $200 million short of the state’s statutory funding formula.
  • Nevada – Governor Sandoval calls for reducing K-12 funding by $270 per student, cutting teacher pay by 5 percent, and freezing merit and longevity pay for teachers (and other public employees).
  • New Mexico – Governor Martinez proposes reducing K-12 funding by $30 million (1.5 percent) and sparing “classroom spending” from cuts, which would mean greater proportional cut to other areas of K-12 education, like school libraries and guidance counseling.  She also proposes a 20 percent cut in the general fund operating budget of the Public Education Department.
  • New York – Governor Cuomo proposes a $1.5 billion, or 7.3 percent, cut to state education aid.  This cut would delay, for the third year in a row, implementation of a court order to provide additional education funding to under-resourced school districts. It would also come on top of a substantial education aid reduction in the current fiscal year.
  • South Dakota – Governor Daugaard is calling for a 10 percent cut in K-12 funding. The cut is so large that the state’s largest school district says it would be unable to satisfy it even if it were to eliminate all school buses and remove all athletic and fine arts programs.
  • Texas – The initial budget, produced by state’s Legislative Budget Board (the Governor is not required to produce an initial budget in Texas), would eliminate funding for pre-K programs that serve almost 100,000 mostly at-risk children — over 40 percent of the state’s pre-kindergarten students.  The budget also would reduce K-12 funding to 23 percent below the minimum amount required by the state’s education finance law. Texas already has below-average K-12 education funding compared to other states, and this cut would depress that low level even further at a time when the state’s school enrollment is growing.  This would likely force school districts to lay off large numbers of teachers, increase class sizes, eliminate sports programs and other extracurricular activities, and take other measures that undermine the quality of education.
  • Washington – Governor Gregoire would take nearly $1 billion from education funds designed to reduce class size, extend learning time, and provide professional development for teachers. Gregoire also would eliminate early education for 1,300 three-year-olds.

These cuts will only get worse if the federal government passes deep cuts in education funding. About one-third of the category of the federal budget known as “non-security discretionary” spending flows through state governments in the form of funding for education, health care, human services, law enforcement, infrastructure, and other areas. House leaders have proposed cutting that spending by more than 20 percent for the current federal fiscal year, which ends in September.  This would reduce federal support for services provided through state and local governments by roughly $32 billion, forcing states to make still-deeper cuts in their budgets for next year.