Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,
I read with interest the “David Evans Capitol Report”, published in the Dec. 23rd edition of the Howell County News.  I felt the need to take exception to one thing that he, and other lawmakers are considering.  
“Why should teachers be exempt from paying state income tax?”  I don’t want to start a battle with teachers, but it seems to me that you will be asking all other citizens to pick up the difference in state revenue that this idea, if implemented, will cause.   
I don’t have the breakdown of teachers’ salaries across the state, but I suspect that a teachers average salary is more than many others, perhaps most residents across the state.  This strategy if implemented, burdens every taxpayer who isn’t a teacher.  That hardly seems reasonable to me as a citizen taxpayer, and I suspect that those who earn less a year than those teachers won’t be happy about it either.
I don’t want to nitpick, but I wonder if we are talking about only public schools, or does this proposal include private schools and colleges?  Will it include substitute teachers, teachers aides, etc.   As I’m sure you are aware, some of those folks make handsome salaries.
If this is a strategy to attract and keep good teachers in our school systems, I think it needs to be reconsidered.  As any taxpayer can tell you, nothing is sure but death and taxes.  My problem is that this program would require administration, at the local level, and in state government.  That means even less revenue gain for the state.  I don’t have those numbers, and I doubt you do either at this point in time.  I’m taking you at you word that you want to hear from your constituents.
I firmly believe that if teachers are underpaid that the solution is a local issue, not a state issue.  You see, outside the military, and college courses I paid for myself, public schools were my only option.  Our children deserve the best we can provide.  That said, I believe that our public schools deserve good teachers at a good salary.  But my life experience has shown me that government, no matter how well intentioned, doesn’t improve much of anything.  Ronald Reagan once quipped that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”  No, I firmly believe that local government needs to provide incentives for teachers, they are after all closest to the issue you are trying to address.
Troy Galebach
Willow Springs MO

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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