Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Teacher raise a "perpetual afterthought"

by Emily Metzgar

Speaking about Louisiana's dire budget situation in November, the governor said, "We must face financial reality. State government must work leaner but smarter than ever before." After the $500 million in state budget cuts following the storms, it looked like Louisiana might be operating leaner. But the $20.3 billion budget proposed this week suggests the important lessons haven't yet been learned. After all this, Louisiana isn't yet working leaner or smarter.

In response to the teacher pay raise idea, one observer quoted in a recent Associated Press report said, "It was very shocking that she [the governor] would propose taking on additional financial responsibilities at this time." Indeed, the danger of incurring additional -- and recurring -- financial responsibilities with a one-time cash supply is clear: Where will the money come from next year?

For advocates of a pay raise, the more important question should be why there hasn't been room for a pay raise in the state's smaller but still enormous budgets of the past. After all, what kind of priority is a perpetual afterthought?

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