Editorial: For higher teacher pay, local taxpayers should contribute

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In Louisiana, as in most southern states, that responsibility is shared more or less equally. For their part, local school boards could use local tax proposals to boost funding for hard-to-fill positions.

Just last year, in fact, Edwards proposed statewide pay hikes of $2,000 annually. Lawmakers, led by the Senate, trimmed the raises to $1,500 amid concerns that local governments weren’t doing enough to support teachers.

“It is going to be a question that is asked again,” said Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, a reference to the level of local support for teacher pay.

Legislators like raising teacher pay at the state level, especially during election years. That makes Edwards’ approach a politically attractive vote this year. Local teacher pay raises often require voter approval of sales or property tax increases at the parish level.

That’s a lot more difficult than convincing lawmakers to raise teacher pay, as Cortez and others obviously know. Nevertheless, the balance of state-versus-local support for education should always be a concern for state and local leaders.

In many states, local taxes are the main contributors to teacher pay. Folks elsewhere probably don’t like paying higher taxes any more than Louisiana voters do. Still, voters in states with highly-ranked K-12 systems no doubt recognize that education is vital to their states’ future, and not just the next generation. There’s an urgent need today for young people who have the skills to fill jobs in the working world.

In addition to the usual level of voter resistance to higher taxes, local tax bases in Louisiana vary widely from one parish to the next. Parishes with one or more large industrial complexes can raise more money per mill or penny from property and sales taxes.

Clearly, statewide raises from the Legislature should be part of the mix. But Cortez and his colleagues are right to ask whether parishes are taking on their share of the burden to support the single most vital governmental expenditure: public education.

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About Mary Weyand 14483 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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