Last week, Public School Forum reported that NEA’s West Virginia affiliate, the West Virginia Education Association suggested that counties in that state use part of the state’s education jobs allotment to pay 100 percent of the health insurance premiums of teachers. The proposal, in essence amounts to a pay raise. Since, West Virginia is one of a several states that has not been forced to make mass teacher layoffs, the federal stimulus money comes as windfall for many counties.
Therein lies the problem with federal legislation to save education jobs: in many places, its merely a solution in search of a problem. Isn’t it nice to know your government provides money whether states need it or not? If the feds will bail out everyone, what incentives exist for states to be efficient? Supposedly, North Carolina is using most of its money from the August jobs bill to soften the impact of what is expected to be a $3 billion state budget deficit. I guess if the money wasn’t there states would be forced to make tough budget decisions (or in the case of West Virginia, not so tough ones) and finance a level of services consistent with what taxpayers are able to pay. How unfair.