Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Florida Senate to pay for tax breaks by cutting teacher pay

From the Florida Tribune

by Gary Fineout

A Senate budget panel on Monday rolled a new school funding proposal that was nowhere near as generous as one that was unveiled last week.

And the big reason is that the Senate plans on cutting out $739 million in state funding in anticipation that the money would be replaced by teachers as part of a pension reform proposal that would mandate that state workers, teachers and others enrolled in the Florida Retirement System start paying annual contributions to their pension.

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate and main sponsor of the pension reform bill, questioned the numbers used by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education PreK-12 Appropriations, saying that it appeared to be a much larger amount of money coming from employee contributions than was anticipated from his bill.

“I would have a very difficult time putting my name on this bill with this potential contribution,’’ Ring said.

Ring, who said he was "perplexed" by the number, asked Simmons what contribution amount he was anticipating would generate the $739 million. Simmons refused to answer, saying that the Senate was still considering whether to have different amounts for different types of individuals. He said it was a "working number" that he was given by Senate leaders and that he did not have a lot of details about how it was calculated.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, also cautioned that a large contribution amount from teachers could lead to criticism that lawmakers had “balanced the budget on the backs of teachers.”

Last week the Senate schools budget panel unveiled a preliminary proposal that showed a 2.28 percent decrease in day-to-day schools funding. Simmons said at the time that decrease kept school funding level because most districts had unused federal aid that was given to them last fall.

But the new proposal that was handed out on Monday now has a 6.57 percent per-pupil reduction -- which is closer to what the House has proposed. Gov. Rick Scott has recommended a roughly 10 percent reduction in funding.

Originally published in the Florida Current - exclusively distributed via Lobbytools - Florida's Premiere Legislative and Media Monitoring Service.

No comments:

Post a Comment