Wooing the education vote

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Both of the major party candidates for governor of Iowa are making unrealistic promises regarding spending on education.

Both want to lift teachers' salaries beyond the 41st in the nation. Chet Culver, the Democrat, is aiming at 32nd and Jim Nussle, the Republican, is seeking to raise the salaries above the national average.

Culver also wants increased spending for preschool programs, a new bonus program to lure the top education graduates to teach in Iowa, and a hefty increase in post secondary education to help offset tuition increases at the state's four-year institutions and community colleges.

Nussle would like to increase the tax credit for families who send children to private schools from $250 to $1,500 per child per year.

These spending proposals do not come with matching taxing or funding diversion proposals. Even if there were a plan on how to pay for the proposals, a bad year or two for taxes could derail the proposals as happened a few years ago to a plan to raise teacher pay across the state.

We've heard this rhetoric before and perhaps plans that were a bit less ambitious could be taken more seriously.