Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ralph Stow: Looking in all the wrong places for school solutions | News for Dallas, Texas | Collin County Opinion: "Why, you might wonder, after three years of 'high priority' status in both regular and special sessions in the Texas Legislature, do Texas taxpayers still not have new school finance legislation? The answer is quite simple; however, the solution may be more politically elusive and founded in anything but education.

The Legislature is mandated by law to provide money for public education. Any deficits to state funding have historically been covered by local property taxes. Over the last decade, the Legislature has diverted more of its budget to other programs and away from education. This deficit was largely paid for by increasing local property taxes and recapture (Robin Hood).

As many districts across the state reached the mandated $1.50 tax cap, however, local funds have not kept pace with the rising need, and state funding of education has slipped from over 60 percent to near 30 percent.

Simply put, as Texas slides down the slippery slope of becoming a high-tax welfare state and local property taxes are exhausted to pay for education deficits, a legislative battle royal is in full tilt between special interests and lawmakers at the feed trough of escalating taxes and politics."


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