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Comments about ‘Federal stimulus funds for teachers may face a fight in Utah’

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Published: Friday, Aug. 13 2010 5:31 p.m. MDT

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Dektol

Just say NO to federal welfare payments.

scambuster

Utah might as well take the money, because the taxpayers are on the hook for it regardless. In other words, according to the bill, Utah can refuse the money but it will just go to another state, but the Utah taxpayer will still get to pay for it. At least by taking the money, it will be spent in the local economy which can't hurt local businesses. Remember that for every $1 of spent in the economy, $2 are created.

I hate to break it to folks but we are a consumer- driven economy.

Dixie Dan

To all teachers, firemen and police officers who will lose their job if this grant does not take place, remember who put you in the breadline this November.

micawber

I imagine this will end up like South Carolina, where the Governor garnered big headlines by publicly refusing stimulus funding. But in the end, South Carolina took the money.

When Representative Wimmer made his comment about how the Democrats are using this to try to buy the election, he proved to me that he cares more about elections than he does about people.

carman

Mr Obamas bill reflects the absolute worst in election year politics. It is an attempt to buy votes by the White House and should be scorned by anyone who loves freedom and integrity.

While Utah Schools have generally done a good job managing costs and their budgets, thousands of districts across the country have raised wages and benefits faster than local economic growth for decades. Now they are in a situation where taxpayers are unwilling and even unable to pay more and are looking the Federal Government to bail themselves out of the problems created by poor fiscal management. In many low cost, Mid-West towns, teachers are paid 70-90k per year (for a 8.5 month/year job) and given benefits that are far in excess of local private employer packages. While private employers have been adjusting to economic realities over the past 10-15 years, the schools have delayed making needed changes and instead have turned repeatedly to tax hikes.

Now that the public is fed up with the process, these schools are looking for a handout. The White House is all too happy to bail them out in an election year.

carman

One more point: This funding is a one-time shot in the arm. It may delay the inevitable, but it will not change the outcome. We should not be bailing out school districts and creating moral hazard problems down the road.

There is room for government intervention to prevent massive depressions, but it must be done in the right way. Works projects to build dams, infrastruction, high-speed rail, retrain displaced workers, etc. can make sense if planned in advance and spending timed appropriately to coincide with economic downturns. It's not an easy thing to do, but with pre-planning and pre-approval, it can be done. When combined with reasonable monetary policy, this could give the economy a shot in the arm when needed without busting the budget or artificially propping up parts of the market that desparately need recessions to get excesses back into equalibrium. But any spending in the trough needs to be offset by net savings during expansions. This is the part that uncle sam has miseably failed to accomplish over the past 50+ years.

Steven S Jarvis

The cost of accepting this money also includes a special session.

What the news has failed to report on is how far off this current year's budget and the final results of last year's budget. The last news I heard was in April when we were 100m in the hole. I have heard estimates that if trends continue that the State will be 700m in the hole by the end of the fiscal year.

Of course the state will accept this money because they have spent money they didn't have and ignored the consequences BECAUSE it is an election year. If we are indeed looking at several hundred million in the hole, all government services including education are going to be on the chopping block. Layoffs are inevitable.

owlmaster2

Karl Wimmer has to be one of the stupidest individuals I've ever in my life known about or heard about...
Our kids and grand-kids futures are going to stifled because an ex badge heavy dope is against taking some of the money paid by Utahans, back to help KIDS???
Get a grip Wimmer.

carman

Wimmer is exactly right that this is election year politics and a blatant attempt by the White House and the Democrat controlled Congress to buy votes. It is slimy politics and it will probably work and buy the Dems some Teachers Union Votes.

Having said that, it is tough to turn our share away if the Dems are going to bribe voters with it. It's a catch-22...

scambuster

Carman, Republicans do the same with tax cuts. They bribe voters by passing big tax cuts. The sad thing is they use the same credit card as the Democrats do. Democrats finance their stimulus spending while Republicans finance stimulus tax cuts. Both are stimulus and both run up the deficit. We need something new in Washington because neither party is worth a salt anymore.

scambuster

Carman, Republicans do the same with tax cuts. They bribe voters by passing big tax cuts. The sad thing is they use the same credit card as the Democrats do. Democrats finance their stimulus spending while Republicans finance stimulus tax cuts. Both are stimulus and both run up the deficit. We need something new in Washington because neither party is worth a salt anymore.

MormonDem

"Utah historically has low funding for schools, but rates among the highest in the quality of that education."

Um, this is actually not true--the Trib did a study on this a year or two ago. Our performance rankings appear artificially high because we have a very low percentage of minority students. The sad fact is that minority students in America tend, on average, to perform lower academically. Since we have fewer minority students, they pull the average down less. But if you break out the performance averages by race, white kids in Utah do poorer academically than white kids elsewhere, and so do minority kids.

So far Utah has received $4.5 billion in stimulus money. Fully 1/3 of that came in the form of tax cuts. The rest has gone local contractors to build roads and bridges, water treatment upgrades, millions in small business loans to thousands of small business, Pell grants for job re-training, and of course saving the jobs of teachers, policemen, and firemen. If you don't think we should have taken the money, explain how we would have survived without it.

carman

To Scambuster: While I agree with the sentiment you express that Dems and Repubs often play the same slimy game of buying votes from too-easily-bought voters, I must disagree with you on the point that tax cuts and special interest spending are equally bad.

With a tax cut, both Dems and Repubs at each income level receive the same benefit. Rich and poor Dems and Repubs get the same break. With earmarks and special interest funding, politicians in power funnel money to their power bases in an effort to win loyalty at the ballot box. This type of behavior is the most egregious in terms of the harm it does to democracy, freedom and the respect for government. One additional point: A tax break can reflect a respect by government that ultimately the resources of this nation below to its citizens, not their government. But a government that takes from all to funnel to the few (e.g. a special interest with political power), is a government that is slowly eroding its citizens freedom to choose.

carman

To scambuster: I ran out of space before saying that I do agree that we need something new in Washington. Both sides back their appear to beat on the other only to solidify their own power bases and feed their own self-interests and egos.

carman

To MormonDem: re "If you don't think we should have taken the money, explain how we would have survived without it"

This is precisely the problem with pork barrel spending. No one feels like they can stand up and say "NO!" to the money without feeling cheated. So we end up in a spending spiral without any way to add discipline to the system. If we hadn't made so many poor personal decisions such as buying too big of homes, too many four-wheelers, too many boats, too many vacations, too many new clothes, etc., etc., we would be in a better to position to take the high ground and ask the nation not to mortgage our and our children's futures for a bit higher standard of living today.

jotab

One thing all of you are not aware of is that the bill states that if the governor does not apply the money will do directly to a state agency to disburse, not to another state.

There is nothing in the bill that says that the state needs to spend the same amount next year. What is says is that the state can't reduce this years budget by the amount received, it is a concept called maintenance of effort. If this was not included many states would just reduce their budgets by the amount received from the Feds and there would be no benefit.

carman

To jotab:

There is no benefit either way. We are pulling money out of one pocket and putting into another. We need to stop thinking of Federal money as "free money". We are simply taking from our children and putting it into our own pockets. We are stealing from their futures...

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