Friday, March 11, 2011

A Tax Hike by Another Name

I received an email from a teaching family today, and she had the following posted on her own blog:

....It's hard to describe as this past week has been one of the most trying and fascinating weeks I've experienced in a long time.

Trying, because on Monday, my husband (a public school teacher) had to vote, along with thousands of other teachers in his district, on a rushed contract that the school board set before them. Some information had leaked that in the next few days, Gov. Walker's budget repair bill would pass. So the idea of this rushed contract was to get something voted and ratified before the bill took effect. To give an idea of what this new contract looks like, I'll use my husband as an example. Basically, his take home pay will be reduced by about $8000.For someone with a master's degree and nine years experience, he will be bringing home less than $40,000 next school year.

The full post is here:

I think of this $8,000 salary decrease as a tax hike. I know in legal, technical terms, it's different. But in practice it's exactly the same thing. We currently have elected representation that has decided to overwhelmingly pass the functional equivalent of a dramatic tax increase along to a small segment of the middle class. We've been so taken in by the idea that we can't "spread the wealth around" that we apparently have committed to only targeting certain groups for our budget shortfalls.

Once again we see the issues laid bare. Though Walker has committed to "not raising taxes," he has no problem squeezing blood out of the turnip of teachers' salaries. So, who, then, will reap the rewards of our "tax cuts?" What good are "leveled off tax rates" if hundreds of thousands of our citizens are forced to take the functional equivalent of tax increases as a trade-off?

May's post does end with optimism, though. And I think she's right. We all need to keep our chins up here. There are plenty of battles ahead, and we will win them by relaying a positive message of unity. Public employees are not the enemy, and we all know this, because we all know one, or two, or a dozen. We will remain committed, because as May says, nothing is lost, until we give up.

Wisconsin will be ours.