Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reader Mail: Governor Perdue Wrong on Teacher Tax

Mark Otto, a Republican grassroots activist from Johnston County, wrote in to express his frustration with Governor Perdue's new "teacher tax."

As a chief budget writer in the Senate, Democrat Governor Beverly Perdue should accept responsibility for the state’s financial mismanagement and reconsider her order to cut educators’ salaries (or as I call it, the “Teacher Tax”).

I must note that my wife teaches in Johnston County, so readers may think this is personal. It isn’t. We will get by without the agreed-upon pay. In fact, I bet that if Governor Perdue had simply asked teachers if they would be willing to make a sacrifice in the face of the fiscal nightmare the Governor has helped create that many of them would say “yes” but they should expect something in return: Fiscal accountability in Raleigh and elected officials who accept responsibility for their own deeds.

I believe this because as the husband of an educator I have met and spoken to many teachers over the years and I know this for certain: they care about what they do. Not only do teachers teach; they love their students. They care, they counsel, they console and they comfort. They work nights at home and stay late after school. They spend their own money to provide materials when the school budgets come up short. I have witnessed this firsthand from my wife and from so many teachers in Johnston County and elsewhere.

Governor Perdue, we all understand the need to balance a budget, but to do so on the backs of teachers who already give more of themselves than most citizens ever know is simply wrong. Your Teacher Tax is wrong and our educators have earned the courtesy of at least being asked or forewarned so they could plan ahead. You did neither, and I say North Carolina’s teachers deserve better.