Monday, July 24, 2017

#TXLEGE: Huberty LYING about School Finance and Property Tax Relief....


"They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak."
Psalm 12:2

[Note: The committee hearing can be viewed here; our testimony can be viewed at the 1 hour 20 minute mark.]

We attended this afternoon's house Public Education committee and testified against Dan Huberty's terrible school finance bill.  This is a substantively similar bill to the bad policy wrapped in a sleazy process bill Huberty pursued during the regular session.  We suppose it's to Huberty's mild credit that at least he's no longer shadily attempting to push it under the radar while the public is focused on other issues.

But the fundamental problem about the bill hasn't changed: It pours a lot of money into the bureaucracy without structurally reforming the system or providing relief to taxpayers.

And, when Huberty attempts to portray this bill as a property tax relief bill, he's telling a bald-faced lie.

In theory, the legislature could write a school finance bill that included property tax relief.  It could be accomplished through a mechanism called a rate compression."  Huberty's bill doesn't have a rate compression.

Furthermore, the argument that some members of the house have made about the state picking up a bigger percentage of the tab for education spending isn't entirely crazy.  We say that primarily because the state collects revenue through sales taxes while local school districts levy property taxes.  But any increase in state expenditures needs to be met with a corresponding decrease in local expenditures and Huberty's bill doesn't do that.

For this website to get to a yes on a school finance bill, we would need to see either structural reforms so the system better serves children or meaningful property tax relief; Huberty's bill does neither.

Bottom Line: This is not a tax relief bill.  This is a spending bill.  And every time Dan Huberty tries to claim otherwise, he's lying.

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Another interesting note about house leadership's priorities during the special session is that THIS bill also got a hearing today:
HB 197        Bernal                  
Relating to the bilingual education allotment provided under the public school finance system.
Bilingual education is a horrible idea that harms the people it claims to help and Dan Huberty heard a bill to put more money into it this afternoon.  Furthermore, during consideration of Bernal's bill, Huberty said that he had integrated its principles into his own school finance bill.  This is happening.

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