Dressed up from the clumsy – at times ugly – presentations public school privatizers recently made in House and Senate Education Committees in support of various bills meant to privatize public education, Jan. 29, the IR printed an op-ed penned by American for Prosperity chief libertarian Joe Balyeat.
The IR not only printed Joe’s op-ed, it gave it top of the fold, editorial page prominence usually reserved for IR editorial statements, but now apparently reserved for the likes of Joe Balyeat and Gary Marbut (Jan. 15), two guys who really do march to a hard right drum.
Do Joe and Gary speak for the IR?
Please remember, back in 1998, along with Rob Natelson, Joe attempted to amend our state constitution with a requirement that there be a public vote on every new tax and fee at every level of government from weed district to the legislature. My union, MEA-MFT challenged CI-75 and won the expected Supreme Court decision that CI-75 was unconstitutional.
More recently, just last session, Joe sponsored SB 54 to kill the Teachers Retirement System defined benefit pension plan and dump all newly hired teachers into the worst looking hybrid (a mix of defined benefit and defined contribution) retirement plan of all time. SB 54 passed that “bat crap crazy legislature.” Gov. Schweitzer vetoed SB 54.
In the same session, Joe sponsored two legislative referenda: Legislative Referendum 119 to require Supreme Court justices to be elected from six specific geographic districts around the state and Legislative Referendum 123 to authorize the legislative fiscal analyst to rebate a portion of our state’s ending fund balance on his own without specific legislative approval. Other parties challenged the constitutional integrity of LR 119 and MEA-MFT challenged the constitutional integrity of LR 123. The Supreme Court tossed both from the ballot.
Now, Joe would turn our quality public schools that serve all God’s children over to private and religious interests and give huge tax breaks in the process.
Just say “No” to Joe. Say “No” to each and every bill meant to drown public schools in a bathtub.