Times editorial: Furloughs not a good idea
From an editorial in today's St. Petersburg Times:
The Pinellas County School Board has better options to balance the budget than job furloughs, a shortsighted, one-time quick fix that does not address the district's long-term problems. Furloughs are the easy way out, and the pain they would create for thousands of teachers and other workers would not result in better policy or firmer financial footing ...
Save $4 million by insisting employees pay a larger share of their health care costs. The district covers nearly 82 percent of employees' insurance premiums and expects to pay nearly $100 million in premiums this year. Reducing the district's portion to 75 percent would save the district more than $8 million a year (only half of that would apply to the current budget gap because of the timing of fiscal years). This would require the teachers' union to agree to the change, but it reflects the real world in which public employers — and the taxpayers who fund them — can no longer afford to cover such a large share of insurance costs. Workers in private industry, particularly in small businesses, are fortunate if their employer pays half or more of their premiums, if they have group health plans at all.
Read full editorial here.