Billing BP: State Looking for Education Bailout

Billing BP: State Looking for Education Bailout
June 17, 2010

Certainly, BP has a financial responsibility to the areas affected by the oil spill. By billing BP for lost sales tax revenue, though, Alabama school Superintendent Joe Morton is setting a dangerous precedent for government intervention in the private sector. Some might even call this profiteering from a national tragedy.

It seems that a state already riddled with insolvent budgets, despite billions in federal aid, has found its next cash cow. Before the spill, lawmakers were calling for an education bailout because a weakened economy wasn't producing enough sales taxes. Alabama needs to understand that an education system so heavily reliant on sales taxes will always have budgetary problems.

If Alabama really wants to see a balanced education budget, it should stop worrying about artificially propping up public-sector jobs and start to transfer the education system to the private sector. A universal system of school choice would raise achievement, save millions and spark a sputtering economy.

Marc Oestreich

The Heartland Institute

Chicago

Originally featured in Birmingham News