Letters this week respond to questions about how Pennsylvania should try to avert teachers strikes and about proposed gun laws.
We asked for comment on two separate, conflicting bills to require gun owners to pay an annual $10 registration fee for each gun they own and to make it easier for people to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.
Most Pennsylvanians know that our state leads the nation in teacher strikes, but did you know that in 2005-06, Pennsylvania had more teacher strikes than all other states combined?
This is to be expected in a state in which all the laws are written to favor the teachers unions. Taxpayers have no rights whatsoever. No right to vote on tax increases, no voice in salary negotiations, nothing. Allow me to propose a law that will level the playing field in favor of the taxpayer.
This state leads the nation in the gap between the average teacher's salary and that of the average resident. Teachers' salaries are so much greater than the taxpayers who support them that these taxpayers cannot afford a widening of this wage gap.
Therefore, I propose that we make it illegal for any district to give a raise to teachers higher than the average income increase of the taxpayers in that district.
If the average income of the taxpayers in a school district goes up by 3 percent, then the teachers can expect a 3 percent raise that year. This would have the added benefit of decreasing strikes since many are caused by salary negotiations. Teachers' salaries need to have some relationship to what taxpayers can afford to pay.
I like this idea so much that I think we should extend this rule to our state legislators. In light of our state lawmakers' recent pay raise grab, I think that the state legislators should only get a raise of the same percentage increase as the average increase in income of the residents of the commonwealth.
Maybe then they would work to improve the economy in this state for all residents and not just a politically connected few.
Joni N. Leone
The combination of high teacher salaries and most teacher strikes is clear evidence that in Pennsylvania, the only clear beneficiary of the public schools are the teachers unions.
Students and taxpayers suffer the overpaid, tenured incompetence of its members that the union extortionists have inflicted upon them. Teachers suffer also as there can be no recognizing of excellence in a union workplace, only solidarity.
Banning teacher strikes is a logical first step toward the goal of getting rid of the unions. Once wages are indexed to inflation and benefits are frozen by law, few teachers would find a compelling reason to pay dues. Once the unions are gone, incentivizing excellence and productivity in teaching will produce a better product at a more reasonable cost in the public schools as it does every day in the world around them.
Any restriction on the sale of guns to law-abiding people without health problems only puts more guns in the hands of criminals. Criminals will have and use guns whatever laws are passed - laws do not apply to criminals.
Restrictions will turn law-abiding people into sheeple, just what the liberals want.
Allow all law-abiding and qualified people who meet the current criteria to carry concealed weapons. Including gun training in the requirement is mandatory, in my opinion.
Once the criminal element realizes that any prospective mark may be armed and trained, crime is reduced. And the opposite is true - any city or state that has banned guns or refuses to allow concealed weapons has seen huge increases in crime.
Any other solution is condemning more people to die.
Read and follow the Second Amendment, please.
Brian M. Smith