To the Editor:
The Republicans in Raleigh have approved their “tax reform” and budget, and we will suffer for both.
According to Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein, the GOP “tax reform” cuts $500 million in revenue while their budget cuts $500 million from public education over the next several years. Sixty-five percent of the tax cuts go to the wealthiest 1 percent, while 90 percent of the cuts go to the wealthiest 5 percent. In other words, the Republican priorities are to take a half billion dollars away from public education and give it to the wealthiest and to out-of-state corporations.
If we don’t have a well-educated populace, businesses aren’t going to be all that interested in moving here. The Republicans are destroying public education by allowing private schools to take money and some of the best students away from public schools, leaving less money to teach students who need the most resources.
You cannot expect one adult alone to teach 20-something 5- to 7-year-old children. The Republicans’ $110 million reduction in teacher assistants is unconscionable. As for teacher salaries, we have been taking pay cuts through inflation. In addition, North Carolina has lost 5,000 teachers, and the GOP budget has locked in the money so we can’t hire more even though the population is rising.
As for our own Republican Sen. Jim Davis from Franklin, he wants to keep the salary increase for teachers with advanced degrees. He said, “They started in good faith. It’s unfair to change the rules in midstream.” Bravo. How about applying that same logic to so-called teacher tenure? He voted to get rid of that, so that in the future teachers can be fired for no given reason. Soon teachers can be let go not just because of poor performance (they always could), but maybe they don’t like a teacher’s views or politics, skin color, religious choice, any or no reason. That’s un-American.
Republicans are raising the copay on Medicaid to the maximum allowable under federal law; they are restricting women’s reproductive choices; they are taking away local governments’ control and giving it to themselves; and they are even taking away Asheville’s entire water system and aquifer and not giving them a dime for it. The Republicans’ idea of freedom sounds more like a police state.
Things have gotten so desperate that I, as a father, a husband, a homeowner, a taxpayer and responsible American chose to protest this injustice with the only moral and legal option left: peaceful civil disobedience in Raleigh. If we don’t stand up, who will?
The Republicans are proud of “scaling back state government” (cutting public services), but they are doing it on the backs of our children, our poor, our middle class, and our future.
Urge our politicians to allocate some of the $250 million “Rainy Day Fund” to keep our teacher assistants and to reinstate teachers’ civil rights for job security fairness.
Join us at Mountain Moral Monday in Asheville Pack Square at 5 p.m. this Monday on Aug. 5.