John Ransom
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Every week I get a response from a reader of this column that goes something like this: "Mr Ransom, I really like your email column but aren't you just encouraging the liberal trolls by paying attention to them?"

The disapperance of posters like Clash-Royal Palm, Bin Leaded and Hal "I'm a Top-Gun Pilot" Donahue speaks for itself.

I'll take a bow now. But not too deep because they'll be back. They're liberals.

In general however, I think it's a good policy to write back to readers. It's just more fun to write to the ones who hate me.

If you like this column, remember to email it to a friend.

Quiet Reason wrote: No, Mr. Ransom. Union dues are paid by union members out of their salaries. The fact that their salaries are paid by taxes has nothing to do with it. It is their money--they use it to pay mortgages, loans, or, heaven forbid, union dues. And it is none of the taxpayer's business so long as it does not cost them any more money.  As a former school board member and also a trustee for a private school, I am not a big fan of unions but I am a big fan of getting your facts straight.- in response to my column Obama's Price: $10 Tax for Union Teachers- You Pay

Dear Quiet,

Union dues, and all the other money that goes to public teacher unions, including professional liability insurance and health and other benefits, ultimately come out of taxpayer dollars.

When taxpayer money is used, it’s fair for members of the public to question it because it does cost the taxpayers more. As a former school board member, you should know that. It was your responsibility to be a steward, an advocate, for that money on behalf of the public.  

And when money we pay teachers with is allocated to purposes that work at odds with the public interest, it’s right that we say something, even if school board members like you are too beholden to unions to be objective about it.

I can’t see anything good coming out of the union’s “crisis fund.” I would go so far to say that teachers who donate to it should have their salary reduced by $20 per year.

Every year we hear that it’s “less than a dollar a month” more for public schools. Or “only $20 more per month on your property tax assessment” and everything will be great. These arguments are often made by people just like you who are former or current school board members.

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.