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Monday, June 11, 2007

West Hartford middle class families should vote "NO" on the budget!

On June 12th, West Hartford residents will have the option of sending a message to the Town Council about their inability to create a budget which is reasonable and fair to West Hartford Taxpayers.

A lot has been said in the media and on area blogs about why people should support this poorly developed budget. Most agree that West Hartford taxes have been consistently on the rise for over five years. Each year, a budget battle occurs and does the standard referendum. And each year, West Hartford residents get hosed.

The Democratic plan is always the same -

1) Create an outrageous budget with unchecked spending and tax increases,
2) When opposition mounts, cry foul, and claim that the old and young are being targeted by the rich and the taxpayers union,
3) Slightly reduce the budget, but eliminate no favors and fraudulent spending programs - just make it look like your making an effort to reduce the tax burden,
4) Sell it to the public as a realistic budget and name call those who disagree,
5) Demonize those calling for a referendum, and call the pot black by accusing them of wasting taxpayer's money by wanting a public discussion and vote on the budget,
6) Eventually, win the referendum, increase taxes and spending and further plummet the West Hartford Middle Class into debt - while claiming you have done everyone a favor - particularly the teacher's unions and all other blood sucking unions who care only about improving their salaries and benefits and care nothing for the town.
7) Next year: repeat the strategy

It's an easy game. The sad thing is that the outcome is always the same.

Question: Can West Hartford Taxpayers stand up this time?

Can we show the Democrats on the Town Council that we are done with high taxes and out of control spending?

Or will we let them have their way with us once again?

Please, please - vote "NO". Tell the West Hartford Town Council and their lackeys that we are through with their lazy tax and spend policies.

It's time to put West Hartford families first for a change!

4 comments:

codesujal said...

It's clear we disagree on this, but the level of vitriol aimed at the teacher's unions, as if they're not people but vampires seems uncalled for. Disagree if you must, but let's not ascribe thoughts and opinions to people.

The teachers of this town are hard working people and they care about their students and the quality of the work they do. They're not out for themselves. In fact, I don't know a teacher anywhere, in any school district, in any state that got into it for the paycheck and the benefits. They do it because they love to and they take the salary they're given because that's the tradeoff for doing a job they love.

Sujal

codesujal said...

PS. The referendum is tomorrow, unless I'm badly mistaken, so that would be June 12th.

Also, for those that are interested, I've laid out my thoughts on this process on my blog:

http://www.fatmixx.com/2007/06/11/west-hartford-residents-vote-yes-tomorrow/

Thanks,

Sujal

The King said...

Sujal:

Sorry, but I completely disagree on your take of hard-working when it comes to teacher's unions. I'd like to put them in my shoes for even a week to see if they could keep up. And being a teacher in WH has more perks than you'd ever find just about anywhere in any job based on the yearly salary and benefits. Believe me, teaching in WH is Heaven.

And when you go into a service job, you should expect to make more that some decent private sector jobs. That's insane. Why should teachers make salaries that equate to what someone else makes who works ALL YEAR LONG?

As for my take on the teachers UNION in WEST HARTFORD, my view stands. Look at the benes and salaries for these people, and then look at what other area teachers make. It's astounding. The school budget is an absolute outrage in its size.

Do you not see my points on the overall budget size? Do you understand what this means to families like mine? I don't know your personal state, but if you have a family and own a home in WH, you must see that what they've come up with for a budget is awful.

codesujal said...

I don't have children, but I do own a home in West Hartford. My wife is a teacher, though at the Kingswood-Oxford school, where starting salaries are lower but top out higher than the public school system.

Teachers work all year round. My wife brings home enough grading that she works easily the same amount I do if not more over the course of the year. She is not allowed to take time off during the school year without jumping through a number of hoops and prepares for fall classes during August. She has a total of perhaps 7 weeks "off" and that's being generous (and with the prep school calendar. In MA, she had only 6 weeks). Most of us in the private sector have anywhere from 2-4 weeks off as a starting base, and I was at 4 weeks most of my career.

She used to be part of a union when she taught in public schools in MA. I know what that life is like, and I know what her life was like then.

Consider the fact that they have to have a masters degree in most cases plus certification in the state. If you were a private sector employee with a masters degree or a professional (law, md) degree and certification (bar exam, MD exam, PE exam, etc.) what would you expect to make?

Hell, I'm a bright guy and only have a bachelors but I was making 2-3 times my wife's highest salary.

Other area teachers are in a similar scale, since CT in general is a good state to teach in. In my humble opinion, considering the responsibility and effort these teachers need to put into their job, they deserve to be paid well. They work hard.

I'm tired of people attacking the union without being specific and acting as if the teachers are some sort of uneducated service job. They're not sitting around babysitting, they have advanced degrees, certification, and bring home so much work it's ridiculous. I'm not saying they're all saints or the union is perfect, but this vilification of the teachers and the union is over the top.

I also object to the way this campaign has been carried out, using misinformation about teacher health insurance copays, budget numbers, and the general name calling directed at teachers and the unions.

The size of the budget has nothing to do with the change in the mill rate. The mill rate has come down, but not far enough for you (or for me, quite frankly).

If we were honestly talking about the mill rate and the affordability of living in the town, the referendum would be about the mill rate not the whole budget after cuts.

This is simply sleight of hand to get an issue passed that wouldn't have legs without the revaluation happening.

If the question had been about whether the mill rate plan was acceptable, I suspect you and I along with many people in town would be closer than not.

As for the budgets for the schools, I've seen the progression over the last five years, but do not have comparable data for the nation or for surrounding towns. I don't believe I saw any of that data on the WHTA web site, either. When making cases about their salaries or benefits being too high, it helps to have comparable data handy.

Overall, however, the benefits and salaries as stated don't seem that outrageous to me. Especially when I consider that the schools here are why my property is worth more than a similar piece of property in Bridgeport, New Haven or even Bloomfield.

Sujal