Monday, May 15, 2006

PEAR Analysis on the Legislative Windfalls

Public Education Advocates' Report (PEAR) has more to say on how the special session went down. I wish I had been receiving these the whole session, but it is good to see the infrastructure is now in place for January.

Monday’s Bottom Line–
  • “Buyer’s Remorse” is Already Setting In.
  • That Giant Sucking Sound You Hear is the Future.
The Legislature has dug itself into a huge hole. As the respected political newsletter Texas Weekly says, “The most important program in Texas state government is now local school property tax relief. … Job One next session will be to make sure there's enough money going to that relief; other state programs will be in line.”

Let’s review the math: The cost of buying property taxes down to the $1.00 level will be $31 billion over five years. The revenue from the new menu of taxes adopted by the Lege this session is a little over $18 billion over five years. The gap between the two is $13 billion.

As the session ends, the message to our legislators, our members and allies, and the general public must be clear:
  • This plan does almost nothing for schools, and makes adequate, equitable funding from the State even more precarious in the future.
  • Because it focuses on local property tax cuts instead of necessary education funding, it will accomplish neither in the long run. Property taxes will have to increase as schools struggle with enrollment growth, inflation, old textbooks, technology needs, higher transportation costs, and crumbling infrastructure.
  • This plan is a budget-buster for the future, and will force the Legislature to drastically cut services or increase taxes in all areas of state government.


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