In his remarks at the end of the session, Governor Richardson proudly proclaimed, “We’re investing in teachers.” However, it would seem the teachers disagree:
Teachers and other public school employees around New Mexico will see the pay raise from the Legislature this year eaten up by increases in insurance premiums.
The president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, Ellen Bernstein, says most employees will have to pay just to keep their jobs. And the head of the New Mexico Federation of Educational Employees, Christine Trujillo, says it wasn’t a pay increase: It was a pay raid.
The Legislature approved a 1.25 percent increase for public school employees except teachers moving up a three-tiered pay system. Trujillo says the increase won’t cover the cost of higher insurance premiums.
Well, that just sort of makes you sit up and wonder. If the teachers’ union is saying that the Governor’s claims about investing in our educators is an outright lie, maybe those Republicans might be telling the truth when they say Governor Richardson’s claims of tax cutting are nothing more than a shell game:
The tax bill passed by the House would provide tax cuts for low- and middle-income taxpayers and change the rate for single parents to the same as those who are married. To pay for the cuts, the House delayed the phase-in of the 2003 tax cut by one year, and increased the severance tax on oil to make it equal with natural gas.
House Republicans complained that the package was actually a tax hike.
“This governor is constantly on the national news claiming to be a tax-cutting Democrat. But now he’s getting rid of the exact tax cut he’s unabashedly selling to a national audience,” said Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell.
So there you have it. Prominent Republicans and Ellen Bernstein arriving at the same conclusion. The Governor is a raider, whose claims just don’t hold water.