Borrowing from James O’ Keefe’s playbook, the Buncombe County Young Republicans aimed to make a mockery of Moral Mountain Monday attendees Aug. 5, enticing them to sign a “a fake petition to decrease, or restore funding levels to the last year that Democrats were in control, which effectively lowers it by millions of dollars.”
Calling themselves the “League of Informed Asheville Residents (L.I.A.R),” it looks like they found plenty of takers, according to the video they posted to YouTube later that day. The video has started to gain traction online, with the conservative Carolina Plott Hound blog posting it, as well as WWNC radio host Pete Kaliner and others.
Watch it here: (AUG. 12 UPDATE: The video was taken down by YouTube, see update and video below)
However, a recent analysis by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction seems to refute the Young Republicans’ assertion that state education spending was lower when Democrats were in power. The report shows a 3 percent drop in education funding from the 2008-09 fiscal year to the most recent 2013-14 appropriations.
An excerpt from the Dept. of Public Instruction’s report:
Comparison of 2013-15 Budget to Past Budgets
The state provides funds to public schools by using a combination of state appropriations and receipts. If you consider all state fund sources – appropriations plus receipt dollars from sales tax, fines and forfeitures and lottery funds – dollars are down while the number of students is up.
Several years ago, the General Assembly began removing General Fund appropriations and replacing them with funds from receipts from sales tax, fines and forfeitures, and lottery funds. To local school districts and charter schools, it is all just state funds. So, when the total funding including these receipt sources is considered, in 2008-09 the total funding for public schools from state sources was $8,515,669,028. In 2013-14, the total funding from state sources is $8,233,098,909. That reflects $282,570,119 fewer dollars for public schools. Since 2008-09, public schools have grown by 33,419 students.
UPDATE (Aug. 8):
The Buncombe County Young Republicans clarified via an email to Xpress that the “2009” budget number displayed in the video refers to fiscal year 2009-10, citing this spreadsheet as their source for the information displayed in the video.
The excerpt of the Dept. of Public Instruction’s report published above specifically refers to fiscal year 2008-09. The entire report is posted here.
The Young Republicans group also provided this link as the source of their information for the 2013-2014 education spending figure displayed in the video.
UPDATE (Aug. 12):