Just got back from the school bus stop. Stood there chatting with the neighborhood moms for 10 minutes. The big news is, our school budget got voted down yesterday.
The budget proposal voted down would have raised school spending (which comprises over 56 percent of my property tax bill) by seven percent. That would be about $200 out of my pocket. But even after we’ve voted the darn thing down, the budget will still go up four point something percent anyway, because of state mandates. And they’ll probably just put the budget up for a vote again, and depend on voter fatigue to get it passed eventually. So the news is not all good. Still, it’s nice to know people have taken some kind of a stand against the ever-swelling public sector.
Illegal immigration was lurking under the surface here. Even among these moms — nice middle-class northeastern American liberals who have internalized all the “tolerance” and “diversity” stuff — phrases like “people who shouldn’t be here” popped up a couple of times. Budget-wise, though, that’s a scam too, as the local costs of illegal immigration — things like ESL classes — are under state mandates. The local education bureaucrats will cut Orchestra and Chess Club, not the special programs for children of our our “undocumented” guests.
Another factor is the rising awareness & resentment among people working in the private sector of the widening gap between themselves and public employees. Here in Long Island, one teacher in 12 makes over $100,000 a year (according to last Sunday’s NY Times Long Island section). That’s with wellnigh guaranteed employment, masses of fully-paid vacation, and a gold-plated benefits package. A schoolteacher-cop married couple is in the upper middle class. This, while private-sector workers are struggling to stay afloat in a fast-changing economy.
I voted against the budget. I don’t even look into the numbers, I just automatically vote down any budget proposal. I know they want more of my hard-earned money, and I know they’ll waste it. Let them cut, we’ll cope.