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Save education without raising taxes
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The teachers’ unions and professional ‘educrats’ are working double-overtime to scare voters into stupidly extending our already excessive state tax rates. They have carefully orchestrated full-coverage protests both locally and statewide. As usual, they couch their greedy agenda in dire predictions of doom for our poor school children. For a moment, I would ask these folks to pretend that we’re all adults and together let’s look at the facts instead of the rhetoric.

1. More money does not necessarily equate to better education: For the past few decades California has thrown ever-increasing amounts of funding into public education. The state lottery was originally approved by voters using the catch phrase “our schools win too”. By ballot initiative we have even enshrined specified percentages of the state budget to be dedicated directly to public education. Why is it that all this educational financing never seems to be enough?

2. California is facing a budget deficit of over $20 billion. At this very moment there exist over 600 state agencies, boards, centers, bureaus, councils, commissions, panels, programs, associations, branches, divisions, and task forces, employing over 350,000 administrators, commissioners, board members, managers, agents, advisors, panel members, executive officers and, lest we forget, a cornucopia of bureaucrats, legislators and lawyers. Are we seriously expected to believe that the ONLY cuts that can be made to balance our state budget are to school teachers? Really?

3. The layer upon layer of local, county, state and federal educational systems are incredibly cumbersome and wasteful. Even if education were the only place we could cut, eliminating and consolidating these redundant bureaucracies would solve a multitude of financial problems…and not cost us a single teacher.

4. One of the protestor’s pet phrases was quoted as, “tax, tax, tax the rich, we can solve the deficit”. Here’s an inconvenient truth that they’d rather we not know: the top 2% of wage earners nationwide already pay about 50% of the total tax revenue. An alarmingly large number of Americans (almost 50% by a recent count) pay little or no taxes at all. The chants of “tax the rich” amount to nothing more than rhetorical class warfare, written and directed by the teachers’ unions, and performed, unfortunately, by front-line teachers and school workers.

We must resist the notion that the only way out of our governmental economic problems is through “greater investments”, i.e. more taxes. We must understand and reason through these issues rather than fall prey to slick rhetoric designed to play on our emotions. We must call on our legislators to live within the means they already take from us, generally without our consent.

Ken Ross
May 10, 2011