Bush has suggested cutting the education budget by 3.5 billion dollars, including severe cuts to student loan programs that just last year Bush promised that he would never cut. That affects working families in our area who don't have the wealth of the Bush family to send their kids to college all on their own. The working families of the 24th District aren't asking for a handout, just a loan from the federal government so that their kids can start out their life without a mountain of high-interest debt.
Now President Bush is saying that it's just too much to ask - at the same time that he is pushing the Paris Hilton Loophole, which gives kids who inherit millions or billions of dollars from their wealthy parents a special exemption from having to pay their fair share. That kind of loophole won't help us out here in the 24th District. How many of your neighbors are set to inherit multi-million dollar fortunes?
In spite of all that, Sherwood Boehlert loves this budget, because it throws him the promise of a little bone, maybe one million dollars or so, with which Boehlert thinks he can buy our votes. None of the money is guaranteed, you understand, but Boehlert has his hopes, so he's declared that the Bush budget has "bold and much-needed" elements.
Even I didn't think that Sherwood Boehlert was that far out of touch. The new budget is set to bankrupt local governments and school districts across Central New York.
Les Roberts sees through the the bull, and is willing to give us some real straight talk. Here's what the Les Roberts campaign blog has to say about the draconian cuts in the new federal budget:
"This sort of cut would have a disproportionate impact on the 24th District. We have 5 times more 4-year universities per capita than the national average. This represents a great number of students who will have to struggle a bit more to afford a college education. While the President is talking about investing money in math and science education, he appears to be forgetting that for many - if not most - people around the country, college is one of our largest lifetime expenses... As a Congressman, Les would not only use his vote to serve as a check on this White House, but would also use the vital oversight role given to Congress to make certain the President keeps the best interests of the country, not special interests, at the front of his mind."
Les Roberts has set the standard of integrity on the budget issue for the 24th District campaign. It is now up to the rest of the candidates to join Les Roberts in his stand. I'm waiting to hear what they have to say.