Friday, May 12, 2006

Legislative "Successes" Harm Texas

Tax Holiday for Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Utilities

We came here to help the school children of Texas. Instead, we are giving big oil companies, big insurance companies, and big utilities the Texas 2007 Year-Long, $400 Million Dollar Tax Holiday.

By cutting property taxes immediately but delaying the new business tax plan until 2008, these big businesses will save about $400 million in taxes next year. $400 million.

Is it just coincidence that $400 million is the amount we have cut from our $1.8 billion promise to Texas schoolchildren, a promise already in the state budget?

Like bullies on the playground, we are taking $400 million from our children and giving it to the oil companies, the insurance companies, the utility companies and others.

Those are the very industries making record profits by charging $3 for a gallon of gas, by making car, home and health insurance unaffordable, by forcing many in Texans to turn off their lights so they can buy food.

[Note: The $400 million tax holiday windfall for 2007 is based on the LBB’s tax equity note on HB1 as engrossed by the House.]

Schools Promised $1.8 billion – We Shortchanged them by $400 million

HB 1 gives our school children a moldy old hot dog and awards big business a thick, juicy steak, baked potato, salad and martini.

Our current appropriations bill locked away $1.8 billion for education. Mr. Pitts reassured us right here on the House floor that we were putting a fence around that money. We are tearing down that fence and breaking into that lockbox. We are stealing $400 million for the governor’s friends in big business. We are telling teachers and school children to be happy for their hot dogs.

In HB2 We Will Slam the Door on Future Spending for Education, Health and Other Critical Needs

If it’s not bad enough to break promises and steal from school children, we’re going to pass HB2 that prohibits the use of business tax revenue for schools, CHIP or any other critical need. We are slamming the door in the faces of our school kids. We are telling businesses that don’t have any responsibility for educating our future workforce.

We Are Taking Way Local Control, Privatizing Schools, Changing School Board Election Days

And, hoping no one is looking, we are using a property tax bill to authorize private companies to take over public schools. We are changing school board election dates for no good reason except some extremists want to. We are dismissing local control.

Here’s a question. What tax category will these new multi-billion private school companies fall into?

And does it make any since to shortchange our schools, guaranteeing that some will fail, and then turn over those schools to private companies who will be held to lower standards?


At 5:25 AM, Blogger Kathi Thomas said...

As many problems as this bill has, one of the biggest is the privatization of schools. When the state takes away funding from schools with problem, they're just setting them up to fail. Anyone with common sense can see that.
In the early 1990's I owned and operated a private "proprietary" (trade) school. In the 1980's there was a huge scandal when companies opened these private trade schools, took in millions in Texas Guaranteed Student Loans and then literally closed their doors overnight and left town, leaving the students with loans owed and no education to pay for the loans. Legislation was written to stop this from happening, but, as far as I can see, this cycle will repeat itself with this "privatization" of "failing" schools. With no regulations on these private companies, anyone can declare themselves a private tax-exempt education firm, come in, steal thousands (if not millions) and sneak out of town, Scott free.
Of course something has to be done about schools that are having problems, but how about sending in "Educational turn around specialists" to help when the schools start having problems rather than waiting until they've got failing scores 2 years in a row and selling them out?
Do these people really want reform of schools, or just donations into their campaign funds from these private companies who will gain lots and lots of money, at our children's expenses?
I urge people to check out the proprietary schools funding scandal of the 1980's- we don't need to repeat that!


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