365体育世界杯The state of the state is confusing. 

365体育世界杯On the one hand, Gov. Brian Kemp has mandated statewide budget cuts that could seriously slash government services and cost people their jobs. He has called the statewide agency cuts necessary in order to avert a budget crisis. 

On the other hand, Kemp indicated in his State of the State address Thursday he is bound and determined to dole out millions for across the board teacher pay raises and overhaul the state’s foster-care program. 

So, Georgia faces a looming budget crisis or it doesn’t. 

Georgia can afford increasing teacher pay by this much, this quickly, or it can’t. 

Or perhaps Kemp’s real plan is to increase the pay of teachers who helped him get elected on the backs of other state workers who could lose their jobs altogether. 

365体育世界杯House Speaker David Ralston seems to be the pragmatist in the room, saying he is not sure the state is in the financial position to fund these pay hikes. 

365体育世界杯With the $2,000 pledge to increase teacher salaries this year, added to last year’s $3,000 increase, it will complete Gov. Kemp’s campaign promise of boosting teacher pay by $5,000.

365体育世界杯We are not saying, in any way, that teachers do not deserve better pay. They do.

365体育世界杯But we are asking the same question Ralston seems to be asking, viz. can we afford it right now? 

Nor are we saying that there is no waste to be cut in government spending. There is.

But we are suggesting a more surgical strategy to cut waste, and costly pork barrel projects would be far more palatable than mandating every agency — regardless of the size of the staff or the nature of the services it provides — cut 4% from their total individual budgets this year and 6% next year. 

We agree with Kemp when he says statewide teacher raises will enhance retention rates, boost recruitment numbers and improve educational outcomes in schools throughout Georgia.

365体育世界杯We think he is absolutely right about that. 

365体育世界杯Our question is not do teachers deserve and need to get paid more, but, again, rather can we afford it right now? 

365体育世界杯Delaying the raises by one year would give lawmakers time to see if the budget crisis predicted by the governor and his financial advisers is real or little more than political maneuvering designed to reduce the overall size of state government. 

365体育世界杯Here’s the thing: The raises will cost the state $350 million. 

Speaker Ralston has said he is skeptical the state has the money right now. 

We agree with the speaker.

365体育世界杯We’re skeptical, too.