Columnist correct in assessment of damage done by General Assembly

The column “Time to leave the free-lunch fantasy club” by John Krull in the Tuesday, March 12, Goshen News was spot on. It is about time state legislators own up to the damage they have caused local government and public schools.

In recent years, in its zeal to cut taxes, our state Legislature has eliminated inventory tax, eliminated inheritance tax, lowered personal income taxes three or four times, and reduced corporate income taxes. Now they don’t have enough money to respect teachers with pay increases that even keep pace with cost of living.

Is it any wonder there is a teacher shortage in Indiana? Who caused it? State legislators have by not showing teachers proper respect. What they are doing now by emphasizing that existing funds be more focused in classrooms is akin to moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic. Cloaked in the language is cutting extracurriculars and administration to move money to teacher pay increases. To increase the pain, they have expanded a voucher system to where it is one of the most expansive, if not the most expansive, systems in the country.

They crippled local government and public schools with property tax caps. Both are handcuffed when trying to fend for themselves. Despite the warnings of negative impact from Republican and Democrat mayors, school superintendents and every municipal/school finance consultant in the state, they enabled putting the tax caps in the state Constitution. As a result, city of Goshen and Goshen Community Schools have each lost more than $30 million since the caps were created. Is it any wonder cities and schools have a hard time fending for themselves? Public safety and other municipal salaries have suffered alongside teacher salaries. Goshen loses police officers to higher paying departments, just as Goshen schools loses teachers. And both have difficulty attracting new talent.

It’s past time for state legislators to abandon Grover Norquist’s “no tax increase” pledge they signed and get real about providing public services. Quality of life is suffering in Indiana, and our state is on the verge of becoming a laughing stock.

— Allan Kauffman, Goshen

Our failing government

Many of us believe that Washington is and has been controlled by the almighty dollar, both sides, Democrats and Republicans. When common sense legislation can no longer be done, something needs to change.

My cousin and I each support different parties, but we agree on many things. Term limits are a must. Some people should not be able to buy guns. Anyone who possesses a gun illegally should go to jail. Our Congress should not get pensions or health care for life. Anyone who votes against what they advocated for during elections should lose their job or be fined. Any company destroying our environment should have to clean up after themselves. Lying should not be acceptable. It should be pointed out and fined.

Overspending is a pathological problem. It will bankrupt our system given enough time. It's not rocket science.

This is simple stuff. Somehow our system can no longer get done what the majority of us want. I hope all of our leaders are listening on both sides of the aisle. Our earth, our people are more important than our dollar. We agree on a lot of things. Let's encourage our leaders to do something or get out of the way. We deserve a lot more than we're getting.

— Rod Kaufman, Goshen

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