All we’ve heard this week on the Governor’s budget is that he proposes raising the cigarette tax by $0.20 per pack to "give teachers a 7 percent pay increase."
Well, the numbers don’t really add up.
Increasing the cigarette tax is estimated to bring in roughly $99 million next year.
Increasing teacher pay by 7% (and administrators by 6%) will cost $302.7 million.
Yet, nothing is said about where that extra $200 million is coming from.
And if the cigarette tax is "successful" in getting less people to smoke, then there will be less revenues each year.
Teacher salary increases are permanent and never go down.
You, me and every other taxpayer is on the hook for the rest of the money.
So don’t believe the budget hype that the cigarette tax is "going to pay for" teacher salary increases. It’s just not true.