Sunday, March 28, 2010

MN-02 : Funding Special Education is Available IF Kline Wants It

For years, John Kline (R-MN-02) has voiced complaints about the Federal Government under-funding on Special Education for children with disabilities. The Obama Administration has proposed an increase or $250 million dollars for FY2011. Mr. Kline would like the U.S. Department of Education “increase special education funding by $1 billion for the coming year by decreasing spending on ineffective and low-priority programs.

Now, Mr. Kline is not requesting additional monies but instead cutting other programs. During a House Education and Labor Committee meeting, Mr. Kline suggested $1 billion from the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) or taking monies from the $1.35 billion funding in the Race to the Top (RTTP) program.

Yet, it was just last month, that Mr. Kline issued a statement committing to an ESEA program that will “work to ensure an excellent education is available to every student in America.”. The initial Race to the Top funding hasn’t even been awarded yet, but the first evaluation of states’ applications resulted in 40 states being eliminated … including Minnesota … one would hope that this means that there are other states that have greater needs than Minnesota.

So, let’s assume that ESEA and RTTP are actually good programs that should be funded, which leads to the question of where to find the additional dollars to fund Mr. Kline’s request for Special Education ?

The answer is simple … Congress enacted a tax cut that went too far and it should be re-instated.
In 2009 the Estate Tax rate was 45% with an exemption if the estate is below $3.5 million. On January 1, 2010, a "one year repeal" of the tax is in place but on January 1, 2011 the estate tax is scheduled to return at a top rate of 55% and the exemption amount is scheduled to drop back down to $1.0 million.
To put it simply, if a single person (note : if it is left to a spouse or a charitable organization, the tax usually does not apply) dies this year and you’re in Paris Hilton status, no tax … but die next year, you pay. In reality, you and I won’t be affect by this but based on past year’s an estimated 15,000 Estates would be affected.

So, Mr. Kline if you want monies for Special Ed, let the Estate Tax rate revert back to last year rates.
Why should the super-wealthy get this break … wouldn’t they feel good to know that their Estate helped children with special needs.

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