The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Monday, March 20, 2006

You Say Republicans Want To Give Out A Tax Cut

Rather than fund our schools?!?! I'm shocked *shocked* by your allegations and assertions! Seriously, this April 17 special session is going to be about playing the school finance equivalent of a shell game while trying to give as much money back to business as possible. Either that or House Republican leaders are going to just use the state's budget surplus to fix the specific task at hand while leaving real school finance reform for January 2007.

It's as if they don't understand what's happening. Either that or certain House Republicans know exactly what's happening and are doing this solely to lose seats in November so that they can kick out Tom Craddick in January. If only.

Either way, the Republican party is dreadfully short on good ideas for fixing this problem. But that shouldn't be a surprise. They've had years to fix the problem and have decided to put countless other priorities ahead of finding a stable, and constitutional, funding source for our schools. To ask them to do all this while reducing property taxes by June 1 is damn near impossible. But it'll only further the case we will make to the voters over the next eight months.

Let's be clear on this, out of the four candidates running for Governor only Chris Bell has any sort of real school finance plan. Bell supports a broad-based business tax to fund our schools that would be able to, among other things, give a $6,000 across the board teacher pay raise. Strayhorn supports a $4,000 pay raise, but has given no specifics on how she would fund it. Perry wants to give 'merit' pay raises while doing nothing else but cut property taxes, while Friedman wants to give the $4.3 billion budget surplus back to taxpayers and then find a way to pay for teacher pay raises.

Strayhorn, Perry, and Friedman are playing variations of the same, old tune. Then again what do you expect in a race that features three Republicans and one Democrat?

Update: Perry's flack continues to boast about $10 billion new dollars for public schools. Too bad it's wrong.