Here is a letter that my good friend Quince (not his real name) wrote to the Tyler newspaper. It has not been published yet there yet so we got it first. Tells of the sort shift teachers get. Seems to be common practice these days that the big wheels decide they will give a name to something, say it's good and try to make us like it and call it good also. Here is the letter:
When is a Raise not a Raise?
While Governor Perry is trotting around the state having ceremonial signing of his various tax bills, many of us Texas teachers are incensed that he and other state leaders have the nerve to claim that there is a $2,000 ÂraiseÂ for teachers beginning with the 2006-2007 school year.
The last raise in the state salary schedule was $3,000 in 1999. That legislation had a pass-through provision that required the entire amount to be paid directly to the teacher in addition to any local increase that would have been in effect for the following school year. No such provision exists in the latest law, which means that many local districts will provide little, if any, salary increase.
Texas teachers have never had state-paid health insurance. In 2002, for the first time, school employees were provided a $1,000 stipend that could be taken either as taxable salary or applied tax-free towards the rising cost of health insurance premiums. In 2003, the Legislature and Governor Perry reneged on their promise by taking away $500 of the $1,000 stipend. This new bill restores the full $1,000 for teachers only, not for other school employees, and requires that the funds be taken as taxable salary.
Now, lets do the math. Three years of lost pay times $500 equals $1,500. Add in $500 restoration of the health insurance stipend (now taxed). That's $2,000 (before taxes). There will not be a real raise until 2007-2008, and that will be $1,500 (before taxes), not $2,000.
Taking money from one pocket, then paying it back interest-free three years later in another pocket, is not a raise. Tony Soprano might call it a gift. Mendacity is what Big Daddy called such rubbish in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
We are in for a long, hot summer followed by fall campaigns and elections. So, Governor Perry, Speaker Craddick, Senator Dewhurst, Representative Berman, Senator Eltife, and all others who are trumpeting success with these bills, remember that Texas teachers can do the math and it doesn't add up.
Remember in November. See you at the polls.
Thank you Quince. (Not his real Name.)
So that's how it goes, they get us all worked up over the immigrents, American idol, the code everybodies talking about while they pull the big switcharoo. Happens time and again. Look at my own situation, laid off a job, I get school funding from a federal program created by laws made ibenefitsss that benifits those that lost jobs due to trade policies. Sounds like a good thing. The owner of the company that abureaucratic this buracratic mess (don't get me wrong, the funding for a new career is nice, did all take advantage of what I have?) but they have offices, employees, computer systems and all, a huge operation and it is a contract service provided by a private company, Lockheed Martincontractorfense contracter. Seems like it might have been easier for 500 guys to keep their jobs, but no doubt it's a way to funnel money to those with friends in high places.
The old switcharoo, see how often you can spot it, all you have to do is use your head, think for yourself and when you think one thing and have the facts and they say it's the other, well you have spotted it. If you can't spot it, well you can sit there while things slip away a little more each day.