Thursday, May 11, 2006

Special Session Run Down

Good news, we have a stronger equity system; Philip can tell you all about the bad news. I warn you, it is not for the faint of heart.

Last night was busy for the Senate and while nobody was watching, HB 1 passed with some horrid effects, however it did pass unanimously so we can only blame everyone.

The Express-News has an article that glows with the achievment of the Senate. It reads like the Dewhurst/Craddick Campaign Committee wrote it.
The deal on equity was reached among key senators and assured Senate passage of the bill — part of a package of tax cuts designed to meet a Texas Supreme Court ruling and a June 1 deadline to change the state's school funding system.

"I'm getting thumbs-up from all of San Antonio," said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, after phone calls from her Senate floor desk to superintendents in the Northside, North East, San Antonio and Edgewood school districts.
Craddick is pushing for it to stay out of conference committee and go straight to the governors desk. This would give him more time to twist arms on HB 2.

HB 2 is in conference committee today, but should still make it to the Governor's desk by tomorrow. Democrats are uneasy about the fact that a sales tax might be on the way, but the concern in conference is whether HB 2 properly dedicates all the money raised from new taxes to buying down property taxes.

According to the Quorum Report:
The bill’s author, Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), said that questions remained as to whether the Senate amendments were in keeping with the will of the House to dedicate all of the revenue growth from HB 3, HB 4 and HB 5 toward property tax relief. Speaker Tom Craddick said he shook hands about noon Wednesday with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on an agreement to remove language reallocating tax revenues after the tax rate gets below 75 cents.

The move was questioned by three Democrats, Pete Gallego (Alpine), Garnet Coleman (Houston) and Sylvester Turner (Houston). They criticized the Republican leadership for not providing for future growth in spending on public education. Democrats are also concerned that so much revenue is being dedicated to property tax relief that the Legislature will need to raise the sales tax to meet other current needs.

The conferees from the House are Pitts, Warren Chisum (R-Pampa), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) and Beverly Woolley (R-Houston).
With that conference, I have little doubt Craddick will get his way. It looks like schools, teachers, and students are going to lose out again. My hat goes off to the leadership who was able to pass the largest tax increase in history and still didn’t find a way to help out the average Texan.

Just to put it into perspective: our schools are no better off and the average Bexar County homeowner with a house valued at $117,300 would save about $174 next year.


At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Just to put it into perspective: our schools are no better off and the average Bexar County homeowner with a house valued at $117,300 would save about $174 next year.

well, unless they are a smoker and smoke a pack a day...

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Matt Glazer said...

So if they smoke, they will pay into a regressive tax that only helps property taxes but not schools. Super.


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