More Cutbacks Loom in Education

The Siegelman administration is asking for permission to borrow thirty eight million dollars from a pot of money belonging to some school systems. The new taxes passed by the legislature in December may not be enough to prevent cutbacks in the education budget.

The senate voted 18 to 11 Tuesday to give its approval to a compromise version of the administration's legislation. Proponents predict the house will approve the legislation Thursday because no legislator wants to go into this year's legislative elections with the education budget being cut. The compromise legislation provides that if the state does use the money, it would be replaced in 2003 by the state selling bonds equal to the amount used. Those bonds would be repaid by state tax collections in future years.

The administration's plan has raised questions about its frugality. Paying off a bond issue takes about 2.5 times as much money as was borrowed and raises questions about its constitutionality.