The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says they are preparing to fight back against any attempts to raise revenue to fund the Governor’s proposed $1,000-teacher, and $500-school support personnel pay raise. President Stephen Waguespack, on AM Baton Rouge, says unnamed leaders have mentioned their support a pay raise tax.

“If they are thinking that they are going to use the issue to increase taxes, then I have bad news for you, you don’t need to do that. There is no need for additional revenue, the revenue is right there in the budget to do something like this.”

Governor Edwards says no new taxes will be needed to fund the pay raise, which he estimates can be paid for by additional revenue from a surging economy.

Waguespack says he supports some form of a raise for teachers, but did not confirm supporting the raise for support personnel. Still, he says Louisiana teachers actually fare better than their counterparts when you factor in the total compensation package offered.

“Salary plus retirement and benefits, we are actually above the southern regional average, so we have a good story to tell there. If you just take salary alone, we are slightly below, so it’s time to kind of address that.”

Louisiana Federation of Teachers spokesperson Les Landon could not confirm that claim.

Instead of a flat raise for all Bayou State teachers, Waguespack, the business lobbyist, supports utilizing the same amount of funds, or fewer, to reward teachers who he feels perform better than their peers.

“The governor wants to spread thin, the same for everyone, no matter merit at all. We think that is a mistake. I don’t know if they will end up giving districts some flexibility, that would be a good thing.”

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