To The Daily Sun,
I hope the Laconia City Council respects Laconia citizens enough to refuse to override the tax cap. The people of Laconia established the tax cap for a legitimate purpose. Until Laconia citizens remove or alter the tax cap, it should be honored.
Laconia citizens were wise to establish the tax cap to limit at least a portion of their ever increasing tax burden. Citizens of other cities and towns, many with stable or declining incomes, suffer as taxes inevitably rise year after year.
Laconia citizens need to remember that once a tax cap is violated subsequent violations become easier and greater, eventually making the tax cap meaningless.
The teachers' contract wasn't negotiated in a vacuum. The parties negotiating the contract knew about the tax cap and should have negotiated a contract that lived within its limitations. But they don't care about the tax cap, and they don't care about the hardships that their demands may have on workers who have to do a good job every day to keep their jobs. They only care about getting increasingly rewarded in their essentially permanent jobs whether they do a good job or not.
The proposed contract doesn't just provide parity with other school districts, it exceeds others. Every district has reasons why its employees deserve more money than others, and so other districts would use this Laconia contract as the rationale for demanding more increases. And so a few years from now the Laconia School Board will be back making the same arguments as today for why more increases are needed. This is simply a planned ratcheting up of pay and benefits for teachers without regard for their success in educating students.
IMHO the Laconia City Council's obligation is to live within the spending limits set by the people of Laconia, and it should tell the school board to renegotiate a contract that does the same.
- Category: Letters
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