To the Editor:
Our elected officials in Albany have passed a state budget that increased spending by 2 percent to a new high of $142.6 billion. Did they trim the bloated levels of public school administrators’ salaries or rein in the lobbying of the teachers unions? Of course not, but they did come up with a plan to send checks to some taxpayers.
The new budget gives middle-income households with children a $350 check, which is to be mailed next year, just in time for the politicians’ re-election campaigns. What a perfect election-year gimmick!
Those $350 checks come from the pocketbooks of taxpayers, including seniors and retirees who have no children at home. Why leave them out of the check plan? They don’t send children to school, yet they pay school taxes — with many having done so for decades. Was AARP asleep at the switch?
The budget extends the state’s tax on
millionaires. New York maintains its reputation as the tax capital of the nation; it has the highest local taxes in the U.S., 80 percent above the national average. How many of these big earners will now move to North Carolina or some other low-tax state?
Long Island school districts will receive $2.25 billion in state aid, an increase of 5.3 percent over this year. Great. Now the teachers union can ask for bigger pay raises.
Do the teachers unions really need to spend big money on lobbying? They spent $3.5 million lobbying state and city officials last year, and now they are paying $250,000 for full-page ads in various newspapers. If the teachers have so much money to spend, maybe we should lower their salaries?
Voting on the 2013-14 school budgets will be next month. Attend the budget meetings and tell the school board that you want to see detailed teacher and administrator salary and benefits data. Also, tell them to stop keeping you in the dark. They’re treating you like mushrooms.