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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Florida balances budget on the backs of teachers

Public education, schools and teachers, lost 3 billion dollars in Florida's latest budget. The same budget is only one billion less that last years' -cpg

Dear Editors,

We usually call it 'class warfare' when politicians raise the prospect of levying or increasing taxes. This is because we, as a society tend to shy away from confiscating others' wages under the guise of solving a revenue shortfall. In these political times, it's petty 'class envy' that spurs our desire to penalize those who work hard for the sake of contributing to the greater good. Most of all, our most recent statewide elections were predicated on making sure that Floridians kept more of their own income. Why, then, have we recently ganged up on state workers by forcing them to contribute into their pension plan?

Truth be told, there is no pension crisis in our state. The real issue is that we needed to find a way to plug a hole in the budget deficit and we needed a scapegoat. Much like liberals supposedly like to 'soak the rich,' the conservatives in Tallahassee need their own villain to justify their political actions. They choose to pick on those 'greedy' labor unions and state workers by imposing a three percent pay cut. We will have police officers, fire fighters and educators who will be making three percent less than they were making in the previous budget year.

To distract from the fact of a three percent pay cut, state leaders successfully argued that so-called fat cat public employees' greed and selfishness were standing between us and fiscal solvency. This begs the question of why our state's leaders can decide what is acceptable class warfare. State workers did not pilfer or steal their benefits. The non-contributory pension system was in place since 1974 and was a system into which current workers entered into in good faith. Today, the state is reneging on this agreement for the sake of scoring political points.

If it is weak logic to suggest that we can balance our books by punishing the 'rich,' it is equally lame to strike out against working Floridians under the premise of a sound fiscal policy but through the guise of an invisible income tax. Conservatives, of all people, should know that envy is a poor means to solving our state's problems.

John Louis Meeks, Jr.


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