The National Education Association's pledge to support the elimination of its controversial property-tax exemption is paying off for the District of Columbia.
The 2.4 million-member teachers' union announced last fall that it would lobby for an end to the federally granted exemption the group had enjoyed since it received a congressional charter in 1906. ("NEA Agrees To Abandon Property-Tax Break," Oct. 1, 1997.)
Critics had argued that the Washington-based NEA should be ineligible for the break since the group long ago made the transition from a professional association that did not promote collective bargaining to a labor union. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill obliged by including a provision calling for the NEA to be taxed "in the same manner as any similar organization" in the District of Columbia appropriations bill passed a year ago.
Last week, officials in the city's Real Property Tax Administration Office confirmed that the union, which owns an eight-story office building near the White House, had met the annual end-of-September deadline for paying taxes. The bill: $1,111,550.
"We take our responsibilities to the community seriously," NEA spokeswoman Kathleen Lyons said last week. "We are hopeful that the money will be targeted to the D.C. schools and their great needs for books, material, equipment, and personnel."
If it's Tuesday...
Vice President Al Gore conjured up images of his predecessor, Dan Quayle, last week when he stopped off in Minneapolis last week to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III and his running mate, Roger Moe.
Mr. Gore lauded the Democratic duo hoping to succeed Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson and Lt. Gov. Joanne E. Benson, both of whom are Republicans.
"They will be the education team that Missouri needs to move into the 21st century," Mr. Gore declared.
Always ready to criticize the Clinton administration for its fund-raising efforts, the Republican National Committee quickly notified the media that Mr. Gore probably meant to say "Minnesota."
--JEFF ARCHER & JOETTA L. SACK
Vol. 18, Issue 8, Page 22