Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And.....They're Off, Or Something Like That

The reason I've called you all back here is because of our need to fix the school finance system in Texas. When we last saw the Republican lead Texas legislature they were unable to agree on, ahem, school finance "reform"/property "tax relief" and we were told this by the governor:
Perry says if lawmakers reach an agreement he will consider a special session.
He would only consider a special session if there was an agreement. In three weeks he's come a long way. Maybe with the recent developments, Hutchison not running and Strayhorn running for governor, he feels he has a little more leeway and can afford to stick his neck out. Whatever the reason he has called legislators back, at a cost of at least $1.5 million, and there is no deal. As InThePinkTexas tells us they were in for all of 45 minutes today and won't be back until Monday.

Today the Governor outlined his latest attempt to break the impasse, Details of Perry schools plan revealed. Rest assured, it's nothing new:
Gov. Rick Perry plans to call today for a school-finance plan that cuts property taxes, expands the state sales tax to computer repairs, car repairs and cosmetic surgeries and increases the cigarette tax by $1 a pack.

It also would require more companies to pay the corporate franchise tax, but it does not appear to make changes to that tax, as the House and Senate have proposed.
In other words we are still at the same place we were before the governor announced his "plan". The plan they couldn't get finalized before the end of the regular session was a plan to pay for school finance reform/property tax relief by raising taxes on the poor and middle class and lowering taxes on the wealthy. This first indication is that at least that part of the plan hasn't changed.

Not much from our Williamson County representatives on this. There was an article last week and here is what Rep. Gattis had to say:
Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown, said his constituents are voicing their frustrations to him all over town, from the carwash to the grocery store to the baseball fields.

"They're as frustrated as I am," he said. Gattis said he does not think he is vulnerable to political attacks on the issue because his constituents know he has pressed for a school finance system that relies less on property taxes. (And more on what?)
I'm so happy for him. I wish I knew that my representative was "pressing" as well. From this it sure looks like all Rep. Gattis cares about is to make sure he won't pay a political price for this. Talk about not being held accountable! If he was my representative I would be more comfortable with him saying he's going to try and do everything he can to do what is right for Texas and try and pass equitable school finance reform. So far I can't find anything from Rep. Krusee about the school finance issue but to be fair there are no toll roads involved.

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