Thursday, May 8, 2014

NC Lieutenant Governor Proposes Paying for Teacher Raises with Donations

Yesterday, North Carolina Governor McCrory announced his plans to raise teacher pay in the short term with an average 2% raise, he also introduced a plan to raise teacher pay in the long-term. These long term plans were to raise pay based on a combination of experience, education, merit and market-need. The big question is always how do you pay for this when the North Carolina Legislature severely cut revenue last year, and it has been reported recently that there is already a $445 million shortfall? It would appear that our North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has an idea for paying for these teacher pay raises: Let’s pay for them by donation.

According to WRAL this morning, Lieutenant Governor Forest is proposing to gather donations from specialized license plates, taxpayer donations, and corporate donations to pay for the new teacher pay raises proposed by McCrory, (See “Forest Proposes Endowment Fund to Raise Teacher Salaries.” ) Instead of finding tax revenue, Forest’s plan is to rely totally on donations for fund teacher pay raises. Forest states that it is a “creative response to tough economic times.” I would grant that it is perhaps a “creative” response and probably one someone who is tax-averse would suggest. Perhaps our entire government’s salaries should be paid by donation? If our Lieutenant Governor or Governor were paid “by donation” too, we could simply stop donating if they aren't doing the job we thought they should be doing.

The real problem with Forest’s suggestion is that it might really illustrate that our current state government is still not entirely committing to paying teachers what they deserve. Instead of biting the bullet and finding existing money or new revenue, they are going to resort to essentially what State Senator Josh Stein calls “voluntary taxation.” Methinks Lientenant Forest’s proposal has to be one of the most bizarre ideas yet to come out of this current state government. I give Forest a A for ‘”off-this-planet” thinking, and an F for really being committed to finding ways to pay teachers what they deserve.

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