Letter to the Editor

Need to block bargaining decision

Sunday, June 3, 2007

To the editor:The Missouri Supreme Court last week turned its back on 60 years of precedent and overstepped its role in granting collective-bargaining rights to public employees. The salaries for government employees are allocated and approved through a budgetary process, and collective bargaining will allow an outside group such as a negotiating team to supersede the budget passed by a legislative body. Salaries that are paid by taxpayers should be approved by individuals directly held accountable to taxpayers (school boards, city councils, state legislators etc.), not by an unknown group meeting behind closed doors.

Because this decision could force unwanted tax increases in local school districts or divert money away from classrooms, I am calling on the leaders in the General Assembly to reverse this outrageous judgment through legislative action next year. The legislature has worked extremely hard in the last few years to budget more money for education and passed a new funding formula. This abrupt change in direction from the Supreme Court could negate much of the progress made to increase dollars to our school classrooms.

PETER KINDER, Lieutenant Governor, Jefferson City, Mo.