Increase in teacher tag fee is unfair

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For the past 10 years I have been a physical education teacher in Richmond County. I love my job; I love my kids. I graduated from Augusta State University, and I tell people all the time that becoming a teacher is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I thank my wife every day for insisting that I go back to school and finish my degree. I drive to work each morning proudly displaying my "educator" tag on the back of my truck.

Teachers are caught in the same economic crunch as everyone else during these trying times. In January 2009, the state changed insurance plans, and the copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses all skyrocketed along with the premiums. So now, we get less for a lot more. We no longer get a cost-of-living raise, but we do get a cost-of-living increase.

The proposed budget this year has eight furlough days, which means that this year we will get eight days less pay. Essentially, I now make less money than I did two years ago.

This week, I opened my yearly auto tag renewal notice and discovered that I am required to pay $35 per year for my "educator" tag, up from $25. This was passed into law by the Georgia General Assembly under House Bill 1055 and signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

There are close to 100,000 teachers in Georgia, give or take a couple thousand. Many of us display the "educator" tag. This means that, in the past, these tags have been produced in large numbers. It is not like we all want a different specialty tag. I strongly feel that this is a slap in the face to teachers.

For those of you who would like to see this portion of H.B. 1055 changed during the next General Assembly, call me. It can be done. I am in the book.

C. Wayne Owens

Martinez

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usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 06/23/10 - 12:22 am
0
0
"educator" like any

"educator" like any personalized tag carries an extra fee. I've had two for more than 20 years. When I feel that I can't afford them, I will opt for regular tags.

areps2
0
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areps2 06/23/10 - 02:45 am
0
0
I agree with usafvet, guess

I agree with usafvet, guess you can call me usmcvet. It is called inflation, prices do go up. And unless you are one of the non-producers in this county you must pay your way. The alternative, quit your job and sit home maybe soon Washington will add tags to a stimulus package and give them away.

mable8
2
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mable8 06/23/10 - 04:01 am
0
0
If you want a specialty tag,

If you want a specialty tag, then you pay for it. The increase is necessary, but if you don't like it, then go back to the regular tag and get yourself a $1.00 bumper sticker that says you are an "educator."

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 06/23/10 - 04:10 am
0
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If you can't afford your

If you can't afford your vanity plate, then maybe you need to get over your vanity.

CarlosC
0
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CarlosC 06/23/10 - 05:21 am
0
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This really has to be a joke

This really has to be a joke letter (I hope). If it isn't, yet another person has chosen the wrong career path. With all the "feedback" that has appeared on various threads on the AC pages lately concerning the bad driving habits of vehicles with "Educator" tags, I'm not sure I'd be proud to have one.

Dixieman
14943
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Dixieman 06/23/10 - 05:59 am
0
0
If you can't afford the extra

If you can't afford the extra 2.74 cents per day, do what I did - get regular plates. usarmyvet.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 06/23/10 - 06:36 am
0
0
Maybe the State of Georgia

Maybe the State of Georgia needs the extra $10 to help pay for the lavish pension plan that our "educators" receive...

Mr. Thackeray
905
Points
Mr. Thackeray 06/23/10 - 08:09 am
0
0
csrareader, not sure what you

csrareader, not sure what you call "lavish" but teacher retirement is any but lavish. Mine is about 50% of my last three salary and that is before taxes. How about you retire and take a 50% cut in pay? Most teachers live from paycheck to paycheck while teaching, after retirement it does not get easier.

As for the poor coach, geeze, it is my a required tag, your vanity seems to hold greater sway than your budget!

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 06/23/10 - 08:38 am
0
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So, Mr. Owens, as a teacher,

So, Mr. Owens, as a teacher, did you vote for hope and change? How's that working out for you? And by the way, guess what rolls down hill?

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 06/23/10 - 08:40 am
0
0
The state fees for any state

The state fees for any state certification, license, etc. will be increasing upon time for renewal.......i.e.....M.D.'s, R.N.'S L.P.N.'S, D.M.D.'S. D.D.S.'S, Pharmacists, Athletic Trainers, Cosmetologists, Barbers, Undertakers, Auto Salvage dealers, etc. These fee increases are one way in which Georgia is dealing with the huge losses of Property Taxes, etc. I don't like it either, however it is the reality of the times in which we live.

scoobynews
3854
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scoobynews 06/23/10 - 08:54 am
0
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I think the writer is more or

I think the writer is more or less ranting about the fact that with insurance going up, less pay, no raise last year nor this year, deductables, and co-pays going up each year that many people in the field feel cheated by the system they work for. It is a proven fact that without educated citizens you have chaos and anarchy. Just pick up a history book and read it. The educated are usually the leaders because they know how to make the weaker and less educated fall into line. So without teachers the task of teaching your children to read, write, and do math would fall upon YOUR shoulders. That also includes social studies, science, and various other subjects. Now if you got the time to do this then great for you. I believe Mr. Owens picked the wrong paper to write to because there are far too many teacher haters on this site.

scoobynews
3854
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scoobynews 06/23/10 - 08:54 am
0
0
I think the writer is more or

I think the writer is more or less ranting about the fact that with insurance going up, less pay, no raise last year nor this year, deductables, and co-pays going up each year that many people in the field feel cheated by the system they work for. It is a proven fact that without educated citizens you have chaos and anarchy. Just pick up a history book and read it. The educated are usually the leaders because they know how to make the weaker and less educated fall into line. So without teachers the task of teaching your children to read, write, and do math would fall upon YOUR shoulders. That also includes social studies, science, and various other subjects. Now if you got the time to do this then great for you. I believe Mr. Owens picked the wrong paper to write to because there are far too many teacher haters on this site.

Scratch
147
Points
Scratch 06/23/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
I guess I'm just getting

I guess I'm just getting crotchety in my old age, but I can't help but think that the average American citizen is pretty ignorant. We have citizens who signal by their votes a desire to relinquish responsibility for much of their lives to a central government. Then this guy complains about having to pay $10 more per year for a vehicle license plate because he feels it gives him some special status (they don't call it a "vanity" plate for no reason). Why do I fear that my grandchildren are being taught by airheads? I'm glad this one teaches physical education instead of mental education.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 06/23/10 - 09:24 am
0
0
Scoobynews, I think there's

Scoobynews, I think there's many more "government school" haters than teacher haters. Most teachers, including many in my family, are involved with teaching and don't really see the organization they're associated with.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 06/23/10 - 09:45 am
0
0
Mr. Thackeray... You and all

Mr. Thackeray... You and all of our teachers deserve all your pension benefits and more. However, the defined benefit pension plan is a thing of the past, unless you are a Government employee. Therefore, I define any defined benefit pension plan as lavish. As for a pay cut, I believe that everyone takes a pay cut when they retire.

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 09:55 am
0
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Cliff - As a teacher, I do

Cliff - As a teacher, I do understand the dislike directed at the "government school" concept. I am in the classroom during the school year everyday so I understand the frustration of the parents. Too often good children sit in a classroom with some ignorant punk who sucks up half the class period walking around the room after being told to sit down 20xs, refuses to do work, talks back, and various other disruptions. What can we do? Pretty much nothing. Our hands have been tied. Each year we are also taught to do the latest cart and pony show for the big cheeses at the top. I think parents need to get more involved. Insist that administrators go into the classroom at least once a week to teach. Many of them have not been in a classroom in many, many years. Insist that the people up at the state department get input from a majority of teachers not a select pool of 20,000 usually from the upper crust counties in the Atlanta area whose student population does not represent the norm. Your told not to teach to a test yet children are passed on to the next level by a test (grades 3,5, and 8) and high school graduation test. The system is flawed yet no one wants to do anything about it. Several European countries have it right we need to start tracking at a young age. Every child is not cut out to be a college grad. Provide real world applications in all high schools not just a few selection. Start a technology magnet school so that our kids can get in touch with the techno future in a more postive manner not facebook, myspace, and texting. Don't complain people be part of the solution.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/23/10 - 09:54 am
0
0
Mr. Thackeray, I really

Mr. Thackeray, I really "feel" for you because of your pension plan.

Do you know what mine is? 0% of my last 3 years of income. That's right, when I retire, I get nothing - except what I have saved and the miniscule chance of receiving social security.

You should also know that most people in the private employment field live paycheck to paycheck too. And they work summers.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 06/23/10 - 10:21 am
0
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Most would agree with your

Most would agree with your 9:55 Scoobynews. Well said.

BCG
0
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BCG 06/23/10 - 10:23 am
0
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Scoobynews..... I so

Scoobynews..... I so agree...... MORE people need stop complaining and be part of the solutions, in everything.. ie the oil spill, education, government in everyone's business instead of taking care those things such as national security and the borders We are this country not the government they are here for us and not us for them!! I would like to see the citizens of this great nation stand up to what is wrong and make it right.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 06/23/10 - 10:26 am
0
0
Don't get me wrong... I'm not

Don't get me wrong... I'm not a "teacher hater." If you don't think that our school teachers are under assault (sometimes literally), you are misguided. When you have some spare time, look over the incident reports that the Columbia County Sheriff's Office places on their web site, and cross-reference the addresses listed for our local high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools. You will see multiple cases of students involved in assualt and battery, sexual battery, drug offenses, theft and more. The teachers deserve all they can get, but just don't whine about the cost of a vanity tag going up by a few dollars.

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
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oldenoughtoknowbetter 06/23/10 - 11:08 am
0
0
Mr. Owens, My heart bleeds
Unpublished

Mr. Owens, My heart bleeds for you. If you would get a real job, maybe you could make enough money to buy a special tag.

gaspringwater
3
Points
gaspringwater 06/23/10 - 12:00 pm
0
0
Seems Georgia House Bill 1055

Seems Georgia House Bill 1055 raised the renewal fee for most specialty plates, including personalized prestige and college commemorative tags:

Tax commissioner concerned about specialty tag fee increase

http://www.romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/7672343/article-Tax-comm...

dichotomy
32850
Points
dichotomy 06/23/10 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Maybe if you elect Roy Barnes

Maybe if you elect Roy Barnes he will fix your tag fee for you. His laughable commercials seem to indicate he has hidden pot of gold somewhere that he will use to raise you pay, hire more of you, and reduce class size. Funny thing is he just sounds like a typical Democrat promising to spend more money on his supporters and never ever ever saying where the money will come from. As a taxpayer I am getting out the vaseline because I know where it will come from. I'll bet the teacher's union is busy printing up the Barnes for Governor signs and posters now. Old Roy may have hitched his wagon to a dead horse on this one because taxpayers ain't in the mood to elect anyone who comes out of the shoot promising to spend more money.......on ANYTHING, but especially a failed education system staffed by people who are already drawing a very nice salary with great benefits and a quite adequate retirement system all while being protected by a union and who have no accountability to the taxpayer......or anyone else.

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 03:13 pm
0
0
Roy Barnes is doing exactly

Roy Barnes is doing exactly what Sonny did - trying to buy the educator vote. He knows that by targeting a group of people who probably vote he has a chance at winning. He makes about as many promises as our "leader" did/does and I am about at the point I don't trust any politicans.

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Springwater - Great article.

Springwater - Great article. I don't think people realize that this does not just mean educator tags but also those that help support organizations in the state. I think Mr. Owen's major complaint was that he is proud to be a teacher and shows it through his plate. When I went to the tag site I notice many tags such as military, college, wildlife, wildflowers, breast cancer, bike safety, pediactric cancer treatment, firefighters, and the list goes on: http://motor.etax.dor.ga.gov/motor/plates/platesamples.aspx

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 06/23/10 - 03:28 pm
0
0
Does any work group

Does any work group collectively whine more than public educators? If you don't like your workplace, your employer, your salary, your benefits, your pension, your non-results oriented envionment, your tenure, your work hours, etc then just quit and get a job in the private sector.

albertoli
179
Points
albertoli 06/23/10 - 04:46 pm
0
0
I wish they would mandate

I wish they would mandate "Teacher Tags" for all teachers. They are a quick way to know who to keep an eye on when driving.

corgimom
32229
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corgimom 06/23/10 - 07:59 pm
0
0
Mr. Owens. As a school

Mr. Owens.

As a school volunteer, I'm about as pro-teacher as you can get- which, by the way, I didn't get a pay cut because I DO IT FOR FREE- your letter, quite frankly, is hogwash.

While you have the right to have any opinion you wish, I can tell you I 100% disagree with you. And I think you will have a very difficult time finding support for your position.

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 06/23/10 - 08:56 pm
0
0
What does the GA teachers

What does the GA teachers retirement system actually provide?
Your pension is years of service (up to a max of 40) x 2% x your average compensation in your highest 24 months of service. You can retire at 25 or 30 or 40 years of service, which would give you 50%, 60% or 80% of your highest average salary.
Plus annual COLAs. (almost never given in the private sector)
Plus world-class health insurance at no or minimal cost.
Please tell me where in the private sector you can get anything as generous as this? Ans: Nowhere. If you know where I can get this good a deal in the private sector, please let me know as I will update my CV and go apply there tomorrow.

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