California’s Greek Reaction
Recently our air waves have been thick with angry ads from the teachers’ unions. We are informed that the greedy, the wealthy, and corporations refuse to pay higher taxes, and thus the more noble of our citizens, such as teachers and their students, are suffering. Lost in the strident message is that California’s sales, income, and gas taxes are now the highest in the country (at a time when federal income, FICA, and health-care taxes are slated to rise to record levels on upper brackets); its teachers are the highest paid in the nation; and California’s students’ test scores in math and English are variously ranked from 46th to 49th in the nation. Given that about 150,000 Californians (out of some 36 million) pay nearly half of the income taxes, and given that estimates suggest nearly 3,500 more affluent Californians are leaving the state each week to no- or low-tax states like Nevada, Utah, Oregon, etc., it would seem suicidal to go after that shrinking 1-5 percent of taxpayers even further — all in order to ensure that the highest-paid teaching cadre in the nation continues business as usual, the results of which are only too clear from national rankings of state achievement in our public schools.