Should Public Employee Salaries be “Recession Proof”?
I recently viewed a video clip (below) of the JeffCo R-1 school district COO, Steve Bell, making comments about the Colorado School Finance Act and how it is a “flawed model”. He specifically laments the fact that the sources of revenue – sales and income taxes – are not “recession proof”. In spite of the fact that the overall economy has slowed and taxpayers are hurting, the JeffCo school district is asking for a permanent tax increase to shield public employees, whose salaries and benefits make up 87% of the school district budget in JeffCo, from the economic recession faced by the rest of the county.
This sentiment crystalizes for me the fundamental flaw (if you will) in an ever increasing government. Given that salaries and benefits make up the largest share of any school district budget, the “recession proof” (read: ever increasing) funding goes to salaries and benefits. The taxpayer, both individuals and businesses, provide all the revenue for public services – always have, always will. Are public services, including schools important and necessary? Of course, but these entities cannot insist on being “recession proof” when those in the private sector are forced to make do.