Can we give teacher raises with no money?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2000

Our lawmakers in Jackson never cease to amaze us. Despite the fact that tax revenues have come up millions of dollars short so far this year, legislators just keep spending money.

Case in point: Tuesday’s vote to approve a $338 million bill that will raise the salary of our public school teachers up to the level of the southeastern average doesn’t address where the money can be found.

As we’ve said numerous times before, our teachers deserve pay raises. No doubt about it. And if we had our druthers our state’s educators would bring home more than the &uot;average&uot; pay.

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We do, however, continue to have a problem with the blatant disregard for proper financial stewardship by our lawmakers.

Like so many Internet entrepreneurs who throw money into startup companies in hopes of making vast profits in the future, lawmakers are writing checks today with hopes that the funds will be there when the checks reach the bank tomorrow.

But this particular case is done. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove will almost certainly sign it into law since it was one his biggest campaign promises.

Now the state needs to figure out how it can generate the funds needed to work the raises into the budget each year.

Maybe the lobbyists and politicos who pressured lawmakers to change their minds on the issue should begin focusing their efforts elsewhere.

Now that the Legislature has been whipped, it’s time for them to move on and do taxpayers a favor by finding a solution to the funding dilemma.

Lots of opportunities exist for used car salesmen. And apparently those lobbyists are already pretty good at hoodwinking folks.

Just ask a legislator.