When Congress passed the "edujobs" stimulus in the summer of 2010, the nation’s teacher union leaders must have made champagne toasts to celebrate their clever way of preserving union jobs while so many public schools were facing budget problems.
Union leaders figured the federal government’s $10 billion handout would help public schools weather tough financial times until the nation’s economy improved. At that point, local and state governments could be expected to crank up K-12 spending, and the teacher unions could emerge from the Great Recession virtually unscathed, with minimal layoffs and precious few contract concessions.
But it hasn’t quite worked that way.
Two years later, schools have blown through their "edujobs" money, the economy is still wobbly, and there is no public appetite for a stimulus of any kind.
That has forced the unions to move on to Plan B, which centers on tax increases.
TalkingPointsMemo.com reports "the National Education Association is ramping up a public information campaign to build support for closing big corporate tax loopholes and directing the revenue toward key education initiatives."
The nation’s largest teachers union claims that closing seven corporate tax loopholes would generate $1.5 trillion over 10 years. NEA leaders have already developed plans for spending the money, proving once again that public employee unions go through taxpayer dollars like a wood chipper goes through tree branches.
While the NEA is busy pushing to raise corporate taxes, teacher unions in several states are asking voters to approve various tax hikes.
The Nevada State Education Association is singing the praises of an AFL-CIO plan that would impose a two percent tax on corporate profits in excess of $500,000, reports FoxReno.com. The teachers union hasn’t officially endorsed the measure, though it "indicated in January that it would sign on to the proposal," the news site reports.
The South Dakota Education Association is spearheading efforts to increase the state’s sales tax by one percent, with the additional revenue going to increase funding for public education and Medicaid.
And as EAGnews recently noted, the California Teachers Association recently gave $1.5 million in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to raise taxes on millionaires, which would increase revenue for the profligate public schools.
The unions would much rather talk about soaking "the rich" than about making common sense contract concessions – such as asking school employees to contribute a little more to their health insurance and pensions – to help prevent teacher layoffs and cuts to student programs. The latter approach has been used with great success by lawmakers in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Idaho and New Jersey. Those states have been able to bolster school budgets mostly by pulling the reins in on their public employee unions.
Regardless of how taxpayers vote on the various tax hike proposals, they should keep this in mind: Increased school funding almost always goes into the pockets of school employees and does little to help students. And after the unions get done eating the rich, they’ll come for the middle class. The unions refuse to keep their appetites in check, and their wood chipper must be fed.