Monday, June 20, 2011

Perry's Tax Plan Hurts Schools


I just watched Karen Finney, on MSNBC, correctly remind viewers that Rick Perry's job growth in Texas, over the last two years, was in part due to the federal stimulus. That needs to be stated over and over.

What also needs to be stated over and over, is that Republicans in the state have been calling out Perry's state tax plan as detrimental to the state, primarily to education.

In 2006, the then State Comptroller, a Republican who later ran against Perry as an Independent, stated EMPHATICALLY and repeatedly that Perry's plan would destroy school budgets. She wrote, in a public letter to Perry

Texans deserve relief from high property taxes, but they do not need it at the expense of future tax hikes and more cuts in public education. Educators are justifiably skeptical of this program because they know that when the state controls the purse strings, rather than locally elected school boards, the result will be devastating to our schools.

The property tax relief contained in the bill, if it can be financed past 2008, will be quickly eroded by rising property values, and increases in local tax rates forced on local school districts struggling to keep up with rising costs. In as little as five years, the state could be right back in court.

Finally, your plan represents the largest tax bill in Texas history, includes an unconstitutional income tax, represents a 200 percent tax increase on Texas businesses at a time when the state has taken an $8.2 billion surplus out of the pockets of hardworking Texans, and does not pay for itself as required by the spirit of our Texas Constitution's "pay-as-you-go, no-deficit-spending" provision. That is unconscionable.

Governor, we should be working to improve state services for Texans and to reduce the burden of government on businesses and individuals. This plan creates a rolling mess that will take 20 years for future leaders of the state to untangle. Texans will recognize this plan for what it is -- a short-term, smoke-and-mirrors patch at best.

Sadly, the only part she was wrong about was "Texans will recognize this plan for what it is -- a short-term, smoke-and-mirrors patch at best."

My husband works for a local school district that just voted down a property tax increase that would have amounted to a bag of chips a week per household. Now buses are on the chopping block, as well as MORE teachers, sports, music, summer school, etc.

The ISD is ranked one of the highest in the state on ROI -- meaning they are efficiently run. Sure they have waste they can cut. But that waste is a blip on the $$$ scale. YET, the people most vocal against the tax increases' ONLY argument was that the ISD wastes money. Since all evidence from the current (Republican) state comptroller and other measurements shows otherwise, and even though the dollars they point to as waste were so minor that we'd still have a budget disaster, all I can say is that messaging, not common sense or comprehension of basic math, won out.

Perry says he has brought jobs to TX (without crediting the many of which were created by the stimulus to the feds). But when you bring families to TX then eliminate the way to fund educating the kids in those families, you can't blame the local ISDs. You especially can't blame the ISDs with high rankings of budget efficiency.

The entire state is facing school budget crises. Why people think each and every ISD created the problem is absurd.

And THIS guy may run for President. If he does, Texans better not fail the American people. We better tell everyone what he has done.

We need to make sure the independents hear the correct messaging: Perry destroyed the budget in the state of Texas. He has led the state since Bush left and has had a Republican state congress. All of the state's problems are his to own and he can't run away from them while running on lies. And finally, if you close your eyes and listen to him talk, you can hear George W. Bush -- and I don't mean the accent.

The only gift his run against Obama would mean would be that Obama COULD actually run against Bush policies again.

So I am also asking a favor: don't bash Texas or Texans. Help the blues in this red/purple state fight. Don't denigrate the state because we need friends outside the state standing with us. We'll have a huge battle on our hands down here -- mocking us will only give us additional fights to counter. Attack Perry and HIS policies. But treat the state with respect and friendship and lift us so that we may have the strength to fight another Texas governor ruining the country!

1 comment:

vera lynn said...

It'll be hard but I will try. Just don't ask me to quit enjoying blond jokes.