April 21, 2017
– If you will recall, I voted against the budget a few weeks ago based in part on the possibility of HB 21 passing and the effect it would have on the budget. In order to fund the $1.8 billion price tag HB 21 would incur, we would have to defer a scheduled payment to the Foundation School program of $1.8 billion into the next biennium. Many in the house claimed we wouldn’t use accounting maneuvers to balance the budget, however, the house did this regardless, and did so on the backs of public school students. HB 21 is spending money we do not have, and budget riders have admitted such by using accounting gimmicks to pay for this legislation.
– So, for me, the decision on the bill came down to fiscal issues and budget ramifications – not necessarily the policy of the measure. The fiscal impact of this bill was not fair to the taxpayers or educators in the state of Texas. I have been in contact with many teachers from my district, and they are all concerned that their taxes are increasing faster than their pay. This is not right.
– I realize folks will say that a no vote shows the lack of caring about public education or the need to address school finance issues. Nothing could be further from the truth.
– In fact, next week, the House Public Education committee will be hearing HB 3759, my bill designed to relieve the financial burden unfunded state mandates place on public schools. I firmly believe that the “one size fits all” system is the problem, and that local school districts know how to spend their money better than those of us in Austin. During this tight budget climate, we need to look for creative ways to direct money back to local school districts, rather than spending money we don’t have.
– I appreciate all the time and effort Chairman Huberty and the public education committee put into the crafting of HB 21. And I sincerely hope that HB 21, since it did pass the house, can be a step in the right direction to truly address our school finance problems.
– As always, I welcome your feedback. If you have any questions about HB 3759, or on my vote on HB 21, please don’t hesitate to contact my capitol office at 512-463-0325, or my district office at 830-990-0185.