Friday, June 24, 2005

What's The Plan?

Two articles today about yesterday's happenings in the House Ways and Means Committee. One from the Austin American Statesman, Tax plan faces criticism and the other from the Houston Chronicle, Perry tax plan has a chance. Both of these articles are attempting to show that Gov. Perry's plan is getting looked at as an option to break the impasse. The one thing that stood out to me in both articles is that there were nothing from the Speaker or Lt. Gov. or anyone in their offices. Which to me means they haven't embraced it. They're leaving it to Rep. Keffer to say it's being looked at...But until the Speaker and Lt. Gov start saying they're looking at it, seriously, I won't believe the governor's plan is being taken seriously, no offense to Rep. Keffer.

Did you know that the Rep. Hochberg (D-Houston) has filed an alternative school finance plan, HB 15. It contains a $4,000 raise for teachers, $2,000 in each year of the biennium. There is a Democratic alternative, despite what you may be hearing.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) has an analysis of all the current plans, How to Judge What's Proposed in the Special Session:
In the current special session the Legislature could make significant changes to the state's revenue system, as well as to the school-finance system. The tax system established in a special session could determine the size of state budgets for the next ten years or more. Both tax and school finance proposals can be judged by the same criteria – equity, adequacy, and sustainability. This Policy Page will compare HB 3, the tax bill filed in the House for the special session, the version of the tax bill that the Senate passed during the regular session, the proposal by Governor Perry, and HB 15, an alternative school finance bill filed by Rep. Hochberg for the special session.
It hits the high points and helps drive home the point that no matter what is likely to pass in this special session – meaning a Democratic plan has no chance – we will likely continue to struggle as a state with financing our public schools until we fundamentally change the tax structure in this state and make education a top priority. Saying it's a top priority, which is all those who currently run this state do, is not enough, we have to actually do it and I don't believe they can.


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