Sunday, July 31, 2005

Time to listen to educators

The Herald Democrat: "Texas' top three political leaders must be morose. They have failed miserably to pass school finance and tax reform bills, even after four tries and an obscene amount of arm twisting.

That news is only half bad for the rest of us because the system half worked. It's sad our schools are in limbo with no sure budget and property owners bereft of tax relief. However, we can be joyful that we aren't stuck with either house's version of what they called reform.

The bills were dogs, both of them. And they got uglier with each attempt to fix them. HB2 version 200-something and its companion tax 'reform' bill HB3, also in its hundredth or more iteration by the third special session of the Texas Legislature, increasingly became compromises that pleased no one. So they died.

By the end of the second special session, the property tax reduction had gone from dropping the cap to $1 per $100 to lowering it to $1.20-$1.25. With no new money to help fast-growing and poor districts build new schools and repair old ones, the debt service part of local districts' budgets likely would raise property tax rates to their previous levels within a few years."


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