Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Clock Is Ticking Alright

Well, now that all the important issues of the special session have been taken care of, it's time to get down to the side show which is school finance/property tax “reform”. As you can see from this article, Lawmakers prepare for negotiations, we're pretty much where we were when this whole thing ended in May and started back up in June:
"I think we're going down to the wire," said Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick, who presides over the House. "We'll have to have a bill on the floor by, I would say Tuesday - Monday or Tuesday."
The Speaker, as usual, is doing all he can to get through a bipartisan plan by appointing 5 Republicans to both Conference Committees, The Senate being a more fair body has two Democrats on each committee:
Each chamber appointed five members to a conference committee to negotiate the differences in the bills and draft one compromise plan that each body can vote on.

From the Senate, the negotiators are Sen. Steve Ogden, R-College Station; Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth; Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco and Sen. Ken Arbrister, D-Victoria.

The House will be represented by Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland, Rep. Warren Chisum of Pampa, Rep. John Otto of Dayton, Rep. David Swinford of Amarillo and Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth. All are Republicans.

Another conference committee will address the proposed changes to education. Those House lawmakers, all Republicans, are Rep. Kent Grusendorf of Arlington, Rep. Dianne White Delisi of Temple, Rep. Bill Keffer of Dallas, Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas and Rep. Rob Eissler of The Woodlands. Senators are Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano; Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio; and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

That panel met behind closed doors late Tuesday and again Wednesday morning, but seemed stumped on funding formulas that determine how much each school district will get and how much would be spent on teacher pay increases.
The main problem is that both of these plans are big give-aways to the rich and do absolutely nothing to fix the long-term school finance and tax restructuring problems that need to be addressed in this state. Here is what Gov. Perry had to say:
"I think it's slow, but it's always been slow. They're down to the last major issues they have before them," Perry said. "I think there's obviously still the will. They still have time although the clock is clicking."
That sure is comforting. The clock is ticking alright, 11/07/06 can't get here soon enough!


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