Before the holiday weekend, let's summarize exactly where we are with the budget, education, and the Guv's shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to governing:
- It's pretty clear by now that neither Christie nor Ed Commish Schundler nor anyone in this administration took into account the loss of income tax revenues when putting together their FICA refund scheme.
- Schundler and Christie have stated repeatedly that teachers can make up the $820 million lost in state aid by taking a pay freeze and contributing 1.5% to their health care. Two problems:
- It's not just teachers, it's everyone who works in a school, and there's no evidence they all got 4.3% raises.
- Bill S3, the bill mandating the 1.5% contribution to health care, states that the contribution comes AFTER a current contract expires.
- If Christie wants teachers to VOLUNTARILY contribute 1.5% to their health care, why is his administration sending out memos that instruct districts that if they settle contracts before 5/22/10, the teachers won't have to contribute?
- Christie's plan to refund the FICA taxes saved if teachers take a pay freeze would, at most, save only 200 jobs in a workforce of 143,000 teachers and administrators.
What a mess. Either these guys don't know what they're doing, or they are deliberately throwing out plans they know won't work.
This is already a pattern with Christie: we know he told many districts to expect a 15% cut in state aid at worst, and then cut most or all of it. That was either lying or incompetence.
Maybe this is both.