Senate Refuses Teacher Salary Increase

The Virginia Senate has voted down a proposal by Governor Gilmore that would have increased teacher salaries by 3.5%. Why would this be struck down? Well, Gilmore tacked it into a totally unrelated bill. So unrelated, in fact, that Lt. Gov. John Hager ruled that it’s constitutionally illegal to do so. (That bill, by the way, was Sen. Emily Couric’s, and would have permitted some retired teachers to be rehired without disrupting retirement benefits.) What’s going on here? I’ve got my own theory, but discuss amongst yourselves.

Governor Gilmore, I’m guessing, wants to make good on his promises to increase teacher salaries. The problem is that it’s a promise that he knows he can’t keep, fiscally. (No doubt related to the budget arguments over the past five weeks.) So what does he do? He attaches the proposal to a bill that’s unrelated, knowing full well that his Lt. Governor will declare it unconstitutional, and strike the whole bill down. Then, when we’ve forgotten exactly what happened, he gets to say that he tried to get teacher salaries increased, but the bill was struck down in the Senate.

In order to get this bill taken up again, it will take a vote that requires a 2/3 majority. I’m guessing we won’t hear anything more about it.

1 Response to “Senate Refuses Teacher Salary Increase”

  • In other words, Gilmore is mimicking the strategy employed in the U.S. Senate by Senators opposed to campaign finance reform. Doing a 180 and throwing support to the bill to the extent that they insist it doesn’t go far enough. Strengthening it, they insure that they can benefit in 3 ways: 1) Get credit for helping support finance reform, 2) Making the issue go away and 3) Keeping the status quo in place, because there ain’t no way the stronger version of the bill would hold up under a first amendment challenge in court.

    Gilmore exersises this method with a twist; he gets to spend that part of the budget twice, in a sense. Whatever public support X million dollars can buy you in special interest spending, he gets double that by passing the blame for getting the spending approved.

    Theoretically speaking, he could repeat the process ad infinitum and ‘spend’ the same money again and again for the rest of his term, reaping free press and improved credibility every time.

    It seems to me that a ‘nevermind’ story in any news outlet generally gets somewhere between 1/5 and 1/3 of the attention that the initial story got. This is true for everything from overturned legislation to scientific discoveries that are refuted. That makes for a pretty manageable ‘economy of bullshit’ to direct at the public for almost anything.

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