The following is a release from my friend Victoria Cobb, who is the President of the Family Foundation:
"As Virginians debate the necessity of one of the largest tax increases in state history, the question seemingly lost in the equation is whether the state can further cut spending instead. Many legislators will tell you that they've done all they can and that there's not enough waste left to make a big difference (and most believe that to be true). While the nation's struggling economy and our state's constitutional requirement to balance the budget forced the General Assembly to reduce increases in spending in recent years, the fact is that there is one area of spending that needs immediate attention.
According to a Friedman Foundation study, Virginia is one of 21 states that currently have more non-teaching staff than teachers. But it gets worse. We’re not just one of 21, we are #1. Virginia school districts currently employ over 60,000 more non-teaching personnel than teachers. Second place, Texas, has only 20,000 more! As we reported a few weeks ago, that translates into a $2 billion a year price tag!
$2 billion a year could build a lot of roads and still give teachers a handsome pay raise.
And before you think all those non-teaching positions were necessary, note that while non-teaching positions have increased 100 percent since 1992, student enrollment has increased only 22 percent. According to the report, teachers in Virginia could be earning as much as $29,000 more per year if the state wasn’t spending billions on extra staff and administration. As a result of the disproportionate spending, teachers are getting short changed. And so are you, the taxpayer.
The report is more evidence why Virginia doesn’t need to raise taxes to cover core government function costs like transportation.
Fixing this ridiculous problem will require leadership and courage to take on the teachers union and the media – both of which go into hysterics at the mere mention of adjusting the state’s funding formula – the archaic “Standards of Quality.” Anyone who takes on this system can be assured of being accused of wanting to “pave roads with school books” or other pathetic sound bits. Editorial writers at Virginia's newspapers are likely to go apoplectic on anyone who dares question the validity of annual increases in education spending – necessary or not.
Unfortunately, it’s easier to dip into the bank accounts of struggling families and small businesses than it is to take on the education establishment. But until that happens, you can expect more tax increases in the future to pay for more unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy."