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Buffalo teacher's union feels the budget pinch, will cut cosmetic surgery from next contract

Taxpayer covered cosmetic surgery... $9 million worth last year alone:

The state-appointed authority overseeing Buffalo public school finances says taxpayer-covered cosmetic surgery rung up by the city's teachers totaled nearly $9 million in 2009.

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority reports that last year's costs for such elective procedures as chemical peels and other skin treatments are up $8 million over the 2004 tab for cosmetic surgery provided under the teachers' union contract.

...

The president of the teachers' union says the union has agreed to give up the benefit in the next contract.

Don't you think the unions should instead be lobbying Buffalo's budget officials for more school funding?  I mean, it's for the children... and small breasted teachers... and teachers needing liposuction... or nose jobs... a chemical peel or two... maybe a face lift...

Things are tough these days aren't they?

H/T Tony Woodlief.


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Comments (19)

If you want some real large... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

If you want some real largess, be a professor and wooed by some Kalifornia university. Not only will they shell out BIG BUCKS for your salary, they'll also pay to move your household for you. And when you finally find an overpriced McMansion to purchase (commensurate with your status) they'll also help with the down payment and offer you a lucrative mortgage well below anything on the market. All on the taxpayer's dime.

Public education isn't so much an avocation today. In earlier times they called it a racket.

Maybe the senate will follo... (Below threshold)
914:

Maybe the senate will follow suit and cut out all the botox enhanced bs from the plastic faced fools.

Can't knock unions, I was i... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Can't knock unions, I was in two. But somewhere along the line, they went too far. Some say it was because the CEO's got greedy with their own muti-million dollar paychecks. Workers rightly wanted more as well. (Totally ignoring the fact that there are more workers than CEO's).

In the public sectors, businesses found rather quickly (especially in the 1960's-70's) that they could no longer hold out on strikes. Their 'loyal customers' would go elsewhere and it was damned hard to win them back. Best to just give in.

In the private sector, the political honchos found a natural ally. They would accede to the union demands, the unions in turn would provide the honchos with campaign money. Talk about a win-win.

What's the solution? Hell, I don't know. If I did, I'd run for dictator. But the idea that the 'new guy' automatically gets more than the last guy has to stop. He's the 'new guy'. He gets less until he proves he's worth more.

"Golden Parachutes". Excuse me? You screwed up the company? You're out of here. I'll give you a gold brick for a parachute if you promise to jump from the top of the building.


The banks are ass-raping yo... (Below threshold)
galoob:

The banks are ass-raping you and everyone else with under $1 million per year in income, and you're focusing on this.

Yeah, the real problem with America is that teachers in Buffalo are getting $3K boob jobs while they make $50K per year, average.

Yep, we focused on it for a... (Below threshold)
914:

Yep, we focused on it for all of 10 seconds galibb. Now were trying to figure out how to keep Barry in indo-china.

So Buffalo is cutting their... (Below threshold)
jim m:

So Buffalo is cutting their "educational endowment"?

Seriously. How can anyone take as serious any governmental threat that cutting taxes will mean reducing education or any needed service when shit like this is going on?

Galoob the issue is that go... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Galoob the issue is that government whines about how if we force them to cut our taxes that they will have to cut police or fire protection or teachers from the schools. Are you honestly suggesting that this is the sole example of waste in the city government in Buffalo?

The point is that when government wants to really cut waste they can, but most of the time they are too busy protecting their own patronage and graft to be bothered with actually serving the public in an honest way.

Are you honestly suggest... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Are you honestly suggesting that this is the sole example of waste in the city government in Buffalo?

No, there's waste everywhere. It's a human thing. You can control it, you can't get rid of it. Anyways, this was part of a contract, so it's not really waste, just a medical benefit you don't like.

The real fraud, waste and abuse is in things like the $21 billion in Goldman Sachs bonuses that were paid when they were leveraging our TARP money, and the carry trade on the Fed Funds rate, or Federal government contracting for the wars paying lots of people $200K to do things that soldiers used to do for $30K per year.

The other concept that flies over your head is that private sector wages used to be higher than government wages, but forty years of stagnation in private wages and benefits have brought them down below government wages.

Now the oligarchy wants to agitate against good government sector wages, lest people start to notice the disparity.

galoob,Waste in la... (Below threshold)
jim m:

galoob,

Waste in large or small amounts is waste. Nothing should be overlooked as too small. obama famously sneered at the GOP complaining about earmarks in the stimulus and budget saying that it was just a small percentage. then he turned around and declared a belt tightening in the executive branch that was even smaller and Herr Gibbs told the media with a straight face that the smaller amount of money was significant.

It's all significant. It's our money they are spending. It would be better off in our hands than in theirs.

And yes if the union contract negotiated by the government paid for that crap hen it was wasteful. The government was again playing with money that wasn't theirs and they didn't give a damn about getting value for what they spent. That is a form of corruption too. We need to get rid of politicians who view spending the public's money in that manner regardless of which party they are from.

galoob, where was your "out... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

galoob, where was your "outrage" about bonuses when Franklin Raines got $6 MILLION? Of course he bailed before Fannie Mae went sneakers up.

"...but forty years of stagnation in private wages and benefits have brought them down below government wages."

Typical liberal view. Private enterprise screws their employees. No galoob, government employees UNIONIZED. Politicians gave them what they wanted - and got political contributions in return. SEIU ring a bell? Government wages went UP. A lot!

Unfortunately businesses have to grow and prosper to be able to offer increased wages. Government just raises taxes.

jim m,Of course al... (Below threshold)
galoob:

jim m,

Of course all waste should be fought, but why is one small thing in a teachers' health plan highlighted, and maybe distorted (some people need plastic surgery), when massive corruption is overlooked.

For the kind of thing I'm talking about, you might read this bit from Matt Taibbi's book Griftopia. Note that he is talking about William Daley and Democratic politicians selling out cheap to Morgan Stanley, but since corporate interests cleaned up and "privatized" something, right-wingers don't complain about this kind of massive rip-off of taxpayers. They never do when corporations rather than workers benefit:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/222206?RS_show_page=0

The bigger problem was that Chicago sold out way too cheap. Daley and Co. got roughly $1.2 billion for seventy-five years' worth of revenue from 36,000 parking meters. But by hook or crook various aldermen began to find out that Daley had vastly undervalued the meter revenue.

When Waguespack did the math on that $608,000 he was going to be charged, he discovered that the company valued the meters at about 39¢ an hour, which for 36,000 meters works out to $66 million a year, or about $5 billion over the life of the contract.

"When it comes to finding a figure for the citizens of Chicago, they say the meters are worth $1.16 billion," Waguespack said shortly after the deal. "But when it comes to finding a figure to cover Morgan Stanley, they say they're worth, what, $5 billion? Who are they looking out for, the residents or Morgan Stanley?"

I left the Chicago area a y... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I left the Chicago area a year ago. The parking meter fiasco was already done by then. Not only was it sold cheap, but they soon raised the rates so high that people stopped parking in the city. Businesses folded because customers could no longer afford to park in order to shop there.

While we are talking about Chicago you could also mention the $200M spent on the Olympic bid. Daley spent millions of tax payer money for a bid that the majority of the residents (polls showed 60% against it) didn't want. Daley bought land and property for the creation of the Olympic village in anticipation that obama would swing the vote. Bad planning that was.

Speaking of Chicago and edu... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Speaking of Chicago and education. How many MILLIONS did Barry and Ayers blow though to "improve" the Chicago school system.

That turned out real well, didn't it. Wonder how many of their buds palms got greased. Since it was funded with private money no public audit was ever published.

While we are talking abo... (Below threshold)
galoob:

While we are talking about Chicago you could also mention the $200M spent on the Olympic bid.

Yes, that and every other subsidy of privately owned sports franchises and projects through publicly funded stadium construction. Another thing that never seems to be complained about because big business interests support it.

What?people are al... (Below threshold)
jim m:

What?

people are always complaining about public funding of sports stadiums. These are always contentious but always go through because politicians are easily paid off.

You might want to talk to t... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

You might want to talk to the Spanos family in San Diego. So far the citizens aren't biting on Alex insisting that taxpayers fund a new stadium for the Chargers. Alex even hinted at leaving. He's still here.

The state budget is still full of smoke and mirrors. All you hear about is public safety and education cuts. No mention of Jerry Brown spending upwards of $150K to 're-decorate' his office when he became AG. No mention from politicians of cutting their per-diem pay. No mention of them cutting their 'car allowance'. No mention of giving up their gas credit cards. Sacramento ain't that big a town. If they're so damned concerned about green house gases, why aren't the Democrats WALKING to work? Then there are all those 'advisory commissions' - oddly enough, filled with termed-out politicians collecting upwards of $125-$150K a year - whether they meet or not.

I can hardly wait for next year when the 'global warming' cap and trade kicks in. We're told that there will be 'little or no costs' to the citizens. Yeah. And the same people also said we'd save money after the electricity market was deregulated. That worked out real well.

One thing the Dems really screwed up on. They hold all the major positions in the state now, as well as a majority in the legislature. Even got the proposition passed allowing passage of a budget with a simple majority vote. THEY OWN THE STATE. Going to be real hard to blame any conservatives as the state continues to spiral down the drain.

"I can hardly wait for next... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"I can hardly wait for next year when the 'global warming' cap and trade kicks in"

I can't wait for the libs to figure out that their electric cars have to get power from somewhere and that the majority of electric power in this country still comes from fossil fuels. That means that the electric cars are actually bigger polluters than gasoline cars because they are using a system that is far less efficient to generate their power.

Plus with obama killing off the coal industry as fast as he can the cost of electricity will be going through the roof. Add to that the fact that he has already lost about 20% of the dollar's value we should be in for a great time of unemployment, hyperinflation and high taxation.

A lot of these public emplo... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

A lot of these public employees will never see the pensions they were promised, either. There is simply no way to pay them.

That's a far higher number than the cosmetic surgery benefit cost, I'm sure - but when ridiculous wastes of taxpayer funds are found, they not only need to be exposed and corrected, no matter the amounts, but also to serve as counter to local and state governments' insistence that they have nothing to cut except essential services.

The only demographic out th... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

The only demographic out there that's more selfish and fatuous than unionized K-12 public school teachers is that of elected Democrat politicians. The grand irony, of course, is that neither the teachers nor the Democrat office holders would be able to figure out the irony.




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