Most of us have heard the old politician joke that begins with the question, "How can you tell when a politician is lying?" And the answer? "Their lips are moving?" While the humor from that joke might have disappeared from that statement after years of use, the truth of that statement is perhaps alive and well in North Carolina. Maybe the word lying isn't exactly correct, but there sure is a great deal of prevaricating going on.
Recently, in a WRAL newstory, "Letter from McCrory Stirs Pot Over Teacher Raises," it seems our governor's office and NC US Senate candidate have declared that a 5.5% raise is the same as a 7% raise. According to that same article, Josh Ellis, a spokesperson for Governor McCrory, states that McCrory and Thom Tillis are saying the same thing. According to Ellis, the difference between whether his office and the North Carolina Legislature gave teachers a 5.5% average raise or a 7% raise is a matter of "accounting differences." Methinks I see both politician's lips moving on this one.
The question I ask is really simple, "Why does our NC Governor and NC State Legislature, led by Thom Tillis and Phil Berger have to resort to deception and trickery when they should simply be doing something right for education and teachers?" I certainly know part of the answer; there's an election in a couple of months and they had to at least "give the appearance of giving teachers a raise." What better way to do that than by using "accounting trickery" to cook the books? That way, they can claim the same truth, and both be right. Well, they might use this "accounting wizardry" in their businesses, but it is just plain wrong to play those games on the hardworking teachers in this state, and to deceive the public as they've done.
What's even worse, other legislators like NC Representative Nelson Dollar and State Senator Tom Apodaca don't even appear to be sure about the amount of raise they gave teachers. Apodaca is quoted as saying that from "everything he's seen on the pay raise tells him its a 7% average hike, not the 5.5% percent raise listed by the governor." The phrase "from everything he's read" could certainly mean he hasn't read much except the lines being fed to him by legislative leaders. Other legislators aren't sure about other things in this raise as well. NC Representative Dollar seems to be either confused or is being misleading. Hard to tell which, except his lips are moving too. He even questions whether the raise provided by this NC Governor and Legislature included taking away longevity and adding it back as part of the "7.7%" raise. He claims the 7.7% does not include the longevity. Perhaps its some of the NC Legislative Accounting again. According to our state legislature and governor's office, 2+2 can equal whatever they decide it equals apparently.
What's really bad about all this, is that appears we have a NC governor and NC Legislature that purposefully or unpurposefully made the raises they gave teachers this year murky. For Thom Tillis and Governor Pat McCrory, it makes a great deal of sense to do just that in an election year. Figure out a way to give the least amount of raise, and then use fuzzy accounting to inflate the amount of raise you gave. Instead of using reality to back their arguments, they use inventive accounting. Either these two gentlemen think the general public and teachers are too stupid to figure it out, or they are more devious that even I could imagine. Once again though, you have to keep in mind their lips are moving!