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By Steve Hunley

President Ronald Reagan used to joke one of the funniest lines he’d heard was, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  All too often that is so true, which brings me to my point.

The Knox County Board of Education is being prodded to vote to join with the other three “big” counties in Tennessee – – – Shelby, Davidson, and Hamilton – – – to get our “fair share” of state tax dollars.  Accordingly, the Boards of Education in the four big urban counties would band together to sue the governor and the legislature over the allocation of Basic Education Funds to get a bigger share.  High priced lawyers are already salivating to bring such a suit, which they say would give each and every teacher in these counties a $10,000 a year raise, as well as have the taxpayers foot the bill for all their insurance.

Nobody has bothered to check the cost to the taxpayers, nor has anyone bothered to try and determine just where the General Assembly would come up with the money.  The truth is the folks pushing this don’t care where the money comes from, but the bottom line is it will come from YOU.

Superintendent Jim McIntyre and the board members really pushing this idiotic idea, Lynne Fugate and Karen Carson, are in essence asking the board to spend our taxpayer dollars to sue the legislature to tax us more.

Just how paying for the totality of teacher’s personal insurance is getting our “fair share” remains unexplained.  In fact, most states are moving away from providing for the complete cost of employee insurance; more and more states are asking employees to pay a share of the cost.

The legislature has few means to provide the money being sought by McIntyre and a few of his rubber stamps on the Board of Education.  Some speculate about a “special” sales tax to increase revenue in Shelby, Davidson, Knox and Hamilton Counties.  How would you feel about paying a lot more in sales taxes in Knox County?  It would certainly be a boon for stores in Sevier, Blount and other surrounding counties as it would encourage people to shop outside of Knox County. I would defy McIntyre or any of his supporters at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce how a much higher sales tax in Knox County would help to lure businesses here.

Nor will this be the only “new money” sought by Dr. McIntyre.  He is working to make a big show at his annual “State of the Schools” production. Past State of the School addresses by McIntyre have been about as appealing as cold mashed potatoes.  You can bet the bank about one thing with absolute certainty: McIntyre will ask for a huge increase in  the school budget with a huge tax increase to fund it. What’s mind boggling is that he’ll be doing this while trying to use your tax dollars to sue the state legislature to tax us more.