Thursday, July 28, 2005

The "big 3" In Disarray

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, despite his claims that he again had the votes, did not have the votes to bring up SB 2 on the Senate floor today. This article, Legislators 'started peeling off', does a great job of showing where the legislature stands:
The education bills fine-tuned by Republican leaders had hung around long enough for opponents to organize. And by this week, there were a lot of them.

Teachers hated the miserly pay raise and the emphasis on standardized tests; businesses felt whacked by new taxes; Democrats defended consumers(I really like that line); school superintendents complained their districts would lose funding ground and local control; the Senate didn't like the high sales taxes; and the House protested the low tax relief.
When you look at it that way it's amazing it got as far as it did. Something for everyone to hate and nothing for anyone to like. Further into the article we hear from the "big" 3:(My comments in italics)
Craddick:
"A lot of members thought there wasn't enough property tax relief. Some members didn't want to vote for a tax even if it meant property tax reduction," he said. "Some people are opposed to putting more money into schools. You have a huge mixture out there."

Let me see if I got this right. If there would have been more property tax relief, no taxes and less money for schools he could have gotten a bill passed?
Dewhurst:
"I don't think there is any question that the governor, the speaker and I would like to come out with a good solution," Mr. Dewhurst said.

"The Senate wants to act. They want to see education reform. They want to see local property taxes reduced," he said. "Don't confuse the House and the Senate."

ACTions speak louder than words, and I don't see any action. That sounds like a shot at the House, Mr. Speaker, which you lead.
Perry:
Mr. Perry said the naysayers won the day in the House, which left him "shocked and surprised."

He laid the blame on education groups and those who would pay the new taxes, such as the 10,000 businesses that had escaped the state franchise tax, and tobacco interests.

"The special interests want to protect the education status quo. They want to protect their tax loopholes. They want to protect their market share of tobacco addicts," Mr. Perry said. "Why should the special interests win at the expense of school children, parents and taxpayers?"

That's 128 naysayers Governor! So along with the naysayers he blamed educators, taxpayers and addicts for killing his, ahem, plan that was supposed to help two of those groups? If the governor could have gotten the educators and taxpayers on his side he probably would have been home free.
So with the Republican leadership in total disarray an education lobbyist had a little advice:
"There ought to be a rule that you never have a special session on school finance in the summer," joked Brad Shields, an education lobbyist for school districts that depend on industrial property taxes. "Because all the teachers and superintendents are off, and they have lot of time to get involved."
I have to admit I hadn't thought of that until I read it and obviously either did the "big" 3.

2 Comments:

At 7/30/2005 2:35 AM, Anonymous ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

"Let me see if I got this right. If there would have been more property tax relief, no taxes and less money for schools he could have gotten a bill passed? "


As a matter of fact, he's right, and you may be unaware of this because you may not have heard the objections actually being raised by the gop reps who keep jumping ship.

The problem involved in passing HB 2 and HB3 from the beginning has been precisely over these GOP issues.

The only people in this state who seem to still believe that property taxes are not too high, that Texas public schools are "underfunded", that teachers and administrators are "under paid" and so on, are mostly in the Texas democratic party, and this is one of several major reasons the Texas democratic party has a hard time breaking %35 statewide at election time.

I keep trying to warn Texas democrats that if we don't get a substantial property tax cut out of this year's legislative sessions, the voters are going to annihilate vulnerable democrat legs like Scott Hochberg, Jim Dunnam, Craig Eiland etc at the polls next year.

Of course, if there is no substantial property tax cut, there will also be a small group of gop casualties in the gop primary next year as well, composed of the gop legs who have been consistently voting "no" with the democrats.

The Texas public school systems are badly mismanaged and are screwing the taxpayers as well as the students, and the great majority of Texans know this.

 
At 7/30/2005 11:51 AM, Blogger wcnews said...

"The only people in this state who seem to still believe that property taxes are not too high, that Texas public schools are "underfunded", that teachers and administrators are "under paid" and so on, are mostly in the Texas democratic party, and this is one of several major reasons the Texas democratic party has a hard time breaking %35 statewide at election time."

That's not correct. What was in Hochberg's amendment, that the Republicans voted with him on, that killed HB 2 was exactly those things. Property taxes would have been lowered on "home owners" by tripling the homestead exemption. It included more money for teachers and more money for schools. What they couldn't vote for were the "unfunded" mandates that were being passed down to local schools. If you've been reading what I've been posting on this since the sessions started this is all just a ruse. What was once intended to cut property taxes and fund our schools properly turned again into the long time Republican scam of tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the poor and middle class. It started with Reagan and hasn't stopped.

As far as more money for schools is concerned I think our schools need more than they are getting. If you look at how much Texas puts into it's public education it is behind all states of comparable size. I contend that the best economic development plan we can have is an educated workforce and Texas is near the bottom in education. I also contend that the Republicans would much rather see public education in the current state it is in, performing badly, and have it run by "for profit" charter schools instead.

The Democrats are coming back, it may take a few years but you'll start seeing the numbers get better in '06, especially with the help they've been getting from the "big 3" lately. Another area I think you have totally wrong is that you believe Texas will blame the Democrats for this defeat. Remember If the Republicans could agree amongst themselves on these issues the Democrats bills, amendments and subterfuge mean nothing. And most of all the governor is the one that started all of this and he, of course, is a Republicans. This is all the fault of the current Republican leadership and their inability to agree on a plan. The Republicans are out front and will be the ones to pay politically for this.

Don't get me wrong I don't believe money is the only answer. But as I've gone over budgeting data from other states I've noticed that Texas lags behind in education funding for states with comparable population but also in total tax intake. Texas' tax structure is antiquated and too dependent on property and sales taxes. It needs to be fixed. Whether you believe in health care for all, especially children, teacher pay raises, state security, every road not being a toll road, etc.. It takes a better plan than what we have right now.

We are judged many times by what and who we spend our money on and tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the poor and middle class has not been and currently is not being judged as good policy by most Texans. I'd love to hear back from you to continue this conversation.

 

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