The online trends from around the state over the weekend include a great deal of anger on comments made by the Lt. Governor on Tennessee’s unemployed population which is sitting at roughly 400,000 folks. The debate on school vouchers also dominated media outlets on whether or not the state should subsidize $5,000 to private schools. And political pundits question the PR skills of the Haslam administration in their first real test with Occupy Nashville.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said at a business function in Kingsport last week that he wants to cut unemployment benefits. It is obvious he’s never had to live in this day and age on unemployment. LINK
“When does it become a benefit and when does it become a lifestyle?” Ramsey, R-Blountville, asked of the current unemployment compensation system.
Weekly unemployment pay averages $285 a week, and beneficiaries aren’t pressed hard enough to look for work, Ramsey said.
The Metropulse has challenged Ramsey to live on $300 a week. (And as a sidenote, that would be just two days per diem during session if he was traveling from Blountville to Nashville.) LINK
So we’d love to see Ramsey live on $285 a week. We’d love to see Ramsey apply for jobs at Walmart and get turned down for being overqualified. We’d love for him to actually make the attempt to see how over 9 percent of the state is currently living. Hell, this reporter will even pony up her own money if Ramsey takes us up on her challenge. PLEASE, Ron Ramsey, try living on $300 for just ONE week. But I bet a month’s worth of unemployment wouldn’t even cover your mortgage.
In Tom Humphrey’s column from yesterday’s Knoxville News Sentinel, the Dean analyzes Haslam and Occupy Nashville’s arrest last month. He says the governor’s plan was flawed. LINK
Gov. Bill Haslam has broken that tradition. One suspects that he did so without a top-to-bottom review of the matter.
The traditional stance for governors — who are often, but not always, the focus of the sign-waving, chanting and such — has been to ignore the protesters with the assumption they’ll go away. Some, of course, have been harder to ignore than others over the years. But they have, indeed, eventually gone away.
Sen. Andy Berke explains the school vouchers issue which would target four cities in the state. If you were wondering what this issue which was discussed last week in the House Education Subcommitte is all about, Berke breaks it down. LINK
School vouchers jeopardize these reforms by removing public education funds from where they are needed most: public schools. Under a proposal before the legislature, half of public funding for a child in the state’s four largest counties would follow that child to a private school. That funding would not guarantee a child’s admission into a private school, nor would it come close to covering tuition costs. It would effectively subsidize private education for families who already plan to send their children to private school.
Ted Rayburn on the editorial board of the Tennessean also weighs in on school vouchers with several questions that require answers which have not been addressed. LINK
The most obvious concern is cost. “Up to $5,000″ may cover the cost of a student attending their public school for a year, but many of the private schools in the four counties charge far more in annual tuition; some cost two to three times as much.
Being from low-income families, these students have no one to call upon to chip in the rest of the tuition. That leaves it to the private school to subsidize the difference, and perhaps there are schools that would. However, where is the assurance that the private school that subsidizes its voucher students one year will continue to do so the next year? What would happen to any academic gains those students made at the private school when they have to transfer back to their public school the next year?
Quick Hits From Around The State
- Sean Braisted writes that Sen. Stacey Campfield says that he will take the Metropulse’s challenge and live on unemployment for one month. LINK
- Solutions and not rhetoric are needed to deal with Tennessee’s unemployed at Newscoma. LINK
- A round-up from Grand Divisions on news from around the state in the past few days. LINK
- Ron Ramsey doesn’t thinks times are bad enough. (Saucy Language alert.) LINK