Monday, April 24, 2006

2 Down, 3 to Go

Craddick has kept his promise and there has not been a recess yet for lunch or dinner, which makes this the first promise kept for the special session!

It has been a busy day at the capitol so far. HB 1 passed overwhelmingly (139-5), but because of the rule vote on Friday, of the $2.4 billion spent today not a cent will go to education.

HB 2 was a little closer (81-65) and again out of all the money raised from a tax on businesses and on cigarettes… not a cent will go to education.

HB 3 is on the floor right now and it is up in the air as Democrats and Republicans are debating on whether to raise taxes on business. That leaves HB 4 (the liar’s affidavit) and HB 5 (a $1 tax increase on cigarettes).

So far the highlights of the day have been a vicious debate on HB 3 by Rep Sylvester Turner and general bird-dogging by my favorites Rep Garnett Coleman, and Rep Senfronia Thompson.

The way it stands as of right now is there is a bill has passed that take billions away from our state education fund and a bill has passed that directs future revenues toward buying down property taxes. So far no bill has passed that funds the property tax in the long term and that means in January our legislators will have to come back, increase funding for schools (finally), and figure out how to make up the $8 billion that we have lost.

Rep Chisum says that we are funding schools by creating a non-voting standard for school districts up to three cents. The school districts can raise a tax up to five cents but a vote is required for that district.

So instead of funding education, they are creating a windfall for wealthy (chapter 41) school districts and will make up the difference when the courts get involved… again.


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