Republicans think – and rightly so – that minimum wage laws are not good public policy.
So why would the Republican governor of Florida propose a minimum wage for teachers in government schools?
Gov. Ron DeSantis has done just that, saying that he will include in his budget next year a minimum wage for teachers that would cost taxpayers about $600 million. This comes at a time when the state’s number-crunchers are predicting a revenue shortfall.
Legislators are reluctant to talk about it on the record, but one suggested the obvious: DeSantis is trying to buy Democrat votes.
DeSantis knows the proposal probably won’t get approved by the Florida Legislature, because it is nuts.
But he can say when he is up for re-election that he tried.
The futility is obvious when you look at the response from the powerful teacher union bosses.
Essentially they said that the proposal by DeSantis was long overdue and nowhere near enough. They would say the same if he proposed doubling the $31 billion spent on K-12 schools because they are simply shills for the Democrat Party.
The ploy is reminiscent of the time Democrat Gov. Bob Graham proposed a huge boost in education funding intended to put Florida in the “upper quartile” of spending on education by states.
Think about that: A governor proposing to spend more money just for the sake of saying we spend more than three-fourths of the other states.
Liberals, of course, call this “investing” in education.
The problem is that spending more money on education does not produce more education, so it is an “investment” with no return. There is not a scintilla of evidence that it does. Academics have tied themselves in knots trying to twist the numbers around and prove that it does, and have failed.
So they just imply that it is true, as if it were obvious.
But if Florida is spending less than other states and getting the same results, or better, then Florida taxpayers and children are being well served.
Spending more does put more cash in the union’s treasury, to be spent on electing Democrats. DeSantis is not going to get any support from the teacher unions.
He says that an increase is needed because there are teacher shortages.
If that is true, it is only in some counties, not all. Teacher pay is a local issue and should be decided by local school boards, not the geniuses in Tallahassee.
As I understand it, counties that have shortages usually lack applicants for subjects such as math and science. What they should do is offer more for people who teach those subjects, when applications dwindle.
DeSantis is doing a good job overall as governor, and even liberals reluctantly have uttered some faint praise for him. But he got bad advice on this issue and he should let it go. It is likely to cost him more Republican votes than the Democrat votes he gains.