Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kerr and McFerson: district sophists

According to Olentangy Facilities Director Andy Kerr and school board member Dimon McFerson, tax burdens are rising due to the mix of residential versus commercial property. Hmmm. And here I thought our tax burdens are rising because of runaway costs and a new levy, the direct result of district benefit increases running twice the private sector.

According to Wikipedia -- the first source of information in the Internet Age, "A sophist is a user of sophisms, i.e., an insincere person trying to confuse or deceive people. Sophists will try to persuade the audience while paying little attention to whether their argument is logical and factual."

Insincere? Confuse? Deceive? Yes, Kerr and McFerson are sophists.


Anonymous said...

Do you honestly reject the premise that commercial development helps keep tax rates down? Whether spending is high or spending is low (that's a different issue), commercial tax base helps keep the overall tax rate lower. That's just a fact and has nothing to do with the spending level of this school distirct or any other school district.

Jim Fedako said...

12:32 --

That's fact? Bet you have never "run the numbers," because if you had, you would know for certain that of student growth accounted for only 15% of the most-recent operating levy. Fifteen percent. The rest is salaries and benefits. Had salaries and benefit increases been reduced to the same as the private sector ... no levy was needed.

Did you get that? No levy was needed. Can you get that?

Chew on that for a bit.

Anonymous said...

I did not say that the levy was needed. I said that commercial tax base growth helps keep the tax rate down. It adds property value without adding students. That's the "fact" I was speaking of, and I believe that was what was being discussed in the article you cited.

Jim Fedako said...

7:50 --

WHAT? How did the mix of commercial property cause my taxes (my tax burden )to rise? Only new levies can do that.

As I wrote before, "Had salaries and benefit increases been reduced to the same as the private sector ... no levy was needed." Hence, the reason my taxes are rising has nothing to do with the commercial mix.

Their statements are sophisms because the they are throwing red herrings -- lack of commercial preoperty causing tax burdens to rise -- when the reality is that only levies can cause tax burdens to rise.

Note that they didn't say, "As we keep increasing your taxes by passing unneeded levies, the relative tax burden of residential/agricultural proporties is rising with respect to commercial property."

And they didn't say, "Your tax burdens are rising so that district employees can receive salary increases over twice the private sector."

"'More and more of the taxes in the school district (are) being paid by the residential and not the commercial,' McFerson said."

No. Both classes of property are paying more taxes since tax rates are rising.

The two are insincere, trying to confuse and deceive. In a word: sophists.

Anonymous said...

Jim - where do you get you numbers for salary and benefit numbers for the private sector?

How do you define runaway costs?

Jim Fedako said...

8:39 --

It's all on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Care to be a little more specific or is this a scavenger hunt?

Jim Fedako said...


note: caps reflect heightened irritation.

Anonymous said...

When you factor in the offset of virtually free healthcare ($10 or $20 per month premiums, lower co-pays) the variance in net compensation is even greater. Not only do teachers get real increases in compensation above what we do in the private sector, but they get to keep much more of what they earn, too--thanks to taxpayer offsets.

Anonymous said...

I hope this is not too off-topic but Gov. Strickland is making his moves now. He's held his meetings with the school teacher class and pretended to listen to their pearls of wisdom regarding what they want us all to pay for and now he's pretending to effect "their" plans while he maneuvers to take the voter's last remaining power away to vote NO on higher taxes for schools. The claim that this is necessary for "equity" among school children is the Trojan Horse that is bringing this about. We taxpayers have no power in anything regarding the schools. The only power we had left was the power to vote NO and that will soon be gone. When that is taken away from the taxpayer the bureaucracy will have conquered completely.

Anonymous said...

Jim - won't you post the comments about comparing the Olentangy contract with a private industry contract like the new Boeing contract? Are you afraid it will explode you contention about the "runaway" costs?

Jim Fedako said...

11:09 --

That has to be one of the most inane comments on this blog. Just because Boeing and its union are bent on self-destruction (ala the Big Three), doesn’t mean that public employee contracts should set the taxpayer on a path toward poverty and destruction.

Are you a lemming and a statist?

Anonymous said...

I'm neither, I just enjoy proving you wrong. You claim that the Olentangy benefits and contract are much better than private industry but I've provided an example where they are right in line. I could list quite a few more but somehow I doubt that would have any impact on your convictions. You know you are right and no amount of information is going to change that.

The bottom line is that the Olentangy contract is right in line with benefits and pay provided by similar sized private corporations. No matter how many times you try and state the opposite, that simple fact will remain true.

Jim Fedako said...

10:23 --

You amuse me ... you're simple and naive. You are the child running around saying, "I won, I won."

Try posting one nonpublic contract where the average salary increase is close to 7%, and where the employees produce less results year-over-year. Big Three excluded.

note: as student/teacher ratios go down year over year, each teacher produces less year over year.

Anonymous said...

That is your measure of "produce" but I measure it by educational success and clearly Olentangy has gone up year-over-year.

I have shown you that one contract you asked. Google the Boeing engineers contract.

The fact remains, your claim that the Olentangy contract is lavish compared to private industry is false and the Boeing contract proves that.

Jim Fedako said...

9:53 --

Are you a high school student? I'm trying to understand your inability to grasp simple logic.

Regarding: "I have shown you that one contract you asked."

I never asked for this contract. Boeing proves nothing. Take some time to learn how to make logical arguments and refutations. You comments are neither.

Anonymous said...

Your word, "Try posting one nonpublic contract where the average salary increase is close to 7%..."

I did, the Boeing contract. It demonstrates a private employer who pays the same and provides similar benefits.

As to logic, the problem is that your logic is faulty since you claim that Olentangy is more generous than private employers but when faced with evidence it is not and you were wrong you dropped back to your usual tactic of attacking the poster.

Jim Fedako said...

11:00 --

OH, NO. Not Boeing again.

Boeing is at 5%, not the near 7% of Olentangy. You still owe me a similar contract.

In 2007, oddly enough, GM settled with the UAW for a similar increase to Boeing. If the Big Three does not define run-away costs, what does?

I will assume that you are either a district employee or board member. Why? Only someone in that position would believe that the market can bear such increases.

Anonymous said...

I'm neither, you still have problems understanding that the majority of citizens in this district don't believe as you do and that we support the district and our administration.

Your comments on the Big Three show how little you understand. The latest UAW contract included a significant reduction in pay and benefits. The cost burdens on Detroit are legacy costs from 20-30 years ago, not the current pay and benefits from today's workers.

Jim Fedako said...

12:46 --

1. You still have NOT shown any contract where the current increase is near 7%, let alone any that has been at that rate for as long as public education.

2. You obviously did NOT read the UAW contract. You are conflating the salary provisions for current union workers with the one for future union workers.

3. Have you ever read the labor department stats on average salary increases? If so, are you going to tell me that that value is 7%? Or even 5%?

4. You're anonymous, so you could be anybody. Regardless, you are anonymous for a reason.

Anonymous said...

I look at the Olentangy website and see that raises for 2008 are to average 2.2% without step and 3% for step or 5.2%. Where is the other 2% coming from?

I went to BLS and looked at historical data for professionals and saw that historically, this labor category (which includes teachers) ran around 3-5% for the past 10 years.

So once again, the data doesn't seem to support your claim.

Jim Fedako said...

6:51 --

You obviously do not understand the concept of an average.

Here's a suggestion: Read the financial documents on the district website. Or, even easier, call the treasurer and ask what she budgeted this year as the average salary increase for continuing teachers (including all three components: COLA, step, and education).

The district has been averaging 7% increases per year for the last decade, almost double the national average of 4% -- your figures.

Seems you once again proved my point.

And I'm still waiting on the contract with 7%. Or have you dropped that line.

Anonymous said...

You are confusing budgets with expenditures. They have budgeted 7% but they haven't spent that much. The actual expenditure has been less and in line with private industry.

7% is not a base pay increase but includes step increases and other incentives. The contracts I have provided are similarly constructed and have the same basic pay increases.

But then you will never admit that Olentangy is well within the trends of similar private industry contracts because that undermines one of your fundamental attacks against the administration.

Anonymous said...

"Your comments on the Big Three show how little you understand. The latest UAW contract included a significant reduction in pay and benefits. The cost burdens on Detroit are legacy costs from 20-30 years ago, not the current pay and benefits from today's workers."

What a dope! Tell you what, Einstein...want to talk about "legacy costs"? The automakers were forced into a "job banks" provision in the 1984 contract which made them keep layed off workers on payroll until a job opened up. Well, two decades later and thousands of people who haven't worked a day in that time have been receiving salary and benefits. In 2005 there were 12,000 still on payroll.
Today it's down to 4,000 and it cost more than $500M to the Big Three in 2008.

I'm sorry...what were you saying about the unions being reasonable?
Their contract is still three inches thick and full of thousands of rules and regulations, all designed to leverage the position of the worker so that s/he is paid the maximum to produce the minimum.

Jim Fedako said...

11:51 --

"They have budgeted 7% but they haven't spent that much."

Enough. You obviously do not understand the finances of school districts. The 7% will be spent. The fluff in the budget is the plan to hire more new teachers, which they never do.

Again, you talk a lot but do not provide any data. Still waiting on the comparison 7% increase.

Anonymous said...

There is no 7% increase. You are stating some budgetary number as an actual expenditure and ignoring the true number which is less. Talk about never providing real data, you throw out statements that have no basis in truth.

I've provided a Boeing contract which has raises comparable to and benefits comparable to those paid by Olentangy. That one example is enough to prove your statement wrong.

Next, I looked at the government labor statistics for professionals and found that the increases year-over-year are right in line with what Olentangy has paid, not budgeted but actually paid.

These are facts that counter your imaginary accusations.

Jim Fedako said...

3:06 --

Where to begin? First: One example (even if it was valid) does not disprove my claim regarding district spending. Logic is like horses and water, and you are not drinking.

The UAW and the Boeing contracts are the end of the end of those industries in the US. They are all suffering "runaway costs."

You keep missing the education component.

The BLS shows average employee salary growth 50% less than that seen in Olentangy (I am using your BLS numbers). Or, inverted, Olentangy is almost twice the national average.

Once again, and this IS getting repetitive, call the treasurer and ask the question an earlier comment (above). I encourage you to do that and understand the facts.

I really do not care what you think may be true.

Anonymous said...

I've developed a Sixth Sense while reading this blog over the last year.

I now see Stupid People. Everywhere.