Friday, March 19, 2010

Trickle down budget writing

In its infinite wisdom (and as a great illustration of how all sh*t flows downhill), the General Assembly has passed a budget that allows local governments and school boards to require current employees to pay from 1% to 5% of the "employee retirement contribution." This provision in the budget does not affect state employees.
The General Assembly has dramatically underfunded local schools - for example, I just heard on the news that Augusta County Schools will have some $11 million less to operate on next year when compared to this year. To make up the difference, a local school board can start making employees contribute to the Virginia Retirement System. Some 20 years ago most local school boards picked up the so-called "employee share" of the contribution in lieu of a pay raise. It was supposed to be permanent... forever and ever, amen.
I'll break this down in simple terms that even Republican budget writers can understand - you underfund local school divisions, but you thoughtfully give them the power to find new money to help fill the gap you created from somewhere, from anywhere... why not scrape it out of employee wallets. Now, that's what I call trickle down budgeting... it really does all flow downhill.

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