Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Special Session Update

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has a new plan and the Speaker thinks it's a load of trash and I agree with the Speaker. It has all the usual stuff in it: money for textbooks, money for teacher pay raises, accountability. It leaves the possible financing up to the next legislature if the Constitutional amendment is passed in November:
Dewhurst said the Senate may consider a plan to allow voters to amend the Texas Constitution by cutting the maximum school property-tax rate from $1.50 per $100 in assessed property value to $1.25. The tax cut would not take effect for a couple of years, forcing the Legislature to decide in 2007 which taxes to raise to replace that money.

Craddick criticized that idea, saying it leaves the 2007 Legislature with a shortfall.

"Why don't we just say we're going down 50 cents and pass a bill?" he asked, tongue-in-cheek. "We'd look good in the press. Rather than $1.25, if you're not going to fund it, let's look great."
I don't think the Speaker is on board. It still appears that the best option is to get through a bare bones teacher pay raise and textbook funding bill. We are at an impasse when it comes to lowering property taxes until they are willing to look at other, more realistic, alternatives.

Dave McNeeley's Latest, Citizen revolt brewing over education?
Some of those hacked parents have formed a group called "Texas Parent PAC," a political action committee.

And what that means is this bipartisan group of usually mild-mannered parents and grandparents "and anyone who loves children and supports high-quality public education" plan to raise at least a quarter-million dollars to invest in 10 to 20 targeted legislative races next year.

"We believe the future of Texas rests in the children of today, and our public schools are the best opportunity we have to ensure that the state's future is bright and prosperous," said the group's chair, Carolyn Boyle of Austin.

They are convinced that many Texas legislators, including Speaker Tom Craddick, talk about quality education but vote the opposite.

"Representative democracy is based on trust, and parents historically have trusted state legislators to consistently vote in the best interest of our schoolchildren," Boyle said. "Unfortunately, many Texas lawmakers have betrayed that trust, which is why Texas Parent PAC was created."
More on this topic from Kuff and the Quorum Report has some news on a still possible deal brewing.

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