Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst recently said that The Lege should consider dipping into the Economic Stabilization Fund, aka Rainy Day Fund, to pay for water and transportation needs.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday that Texas should consider dipping into the state’s multi-billion dollar rainy day fund to address pressing water and transportation needs.
Dewhurst, speaking before the Dallas Regional Chamber, proposed using $1 billion from the fund, which could reach $8 billion by the end of the year, to create a new water infrastructure development bank to help cities and other municipalities build reservoirs. [Emphasis added]
Joining House Speaker Joe Straus and other state leaders in focusing on the major challenges surrounding Texas’ brisk population growth, the lieutenant governor said it might also make sense to develop a similar bank for highway construction projects.
[You can watch it here.] The business community has been signalling for a while they their willing to give the Texas GOP a pass on raising taxes for either of these issues. They all understand that they need water and roads for their new developments. And they prefer Texas taxpayers to pay for it.
But don’t expect public education to get the same treatment, School districts suing the state point finger at Texas Legislature.
John Folks, former president of the Texas Association of School Administrators and former superintendent of the Northside school district in San Antonio — the state’s fourth-largest district — placed much of the blame for current problems with state lawmakers. It started with the “structural deficit” they created in 2006 when they lowered property taxes and replaced the lost revenue with a new business tax that never produced enough money, he said.
Folks, named Texas superintendent of the year in 2011 by the Texas Association of School Boards, said the Legislature miscalculated by billions of dollars how much revenue the new business tax would raise. Lawmakers were let off the hook when they were able to use federal stimulus money to make up the shortfall in 2009, but the huge financial hole came back in 2011, according to Folks.
Mr. Folks gets most of that right. What he gets wrong is who let lawmakers off the hook. The people of Texas did. There’s has been little – and what there was has been wiped out by the tea party wave of 2012 – electoral punishment for those who voted for the structural deficit that has decimated public education. It should also be noted that The Lege knew when they passed the GOP tax swap scheme of 2006 that it would come up short.
The plan has always been to defund public education (and the safety net), and they’re are not going to allow it to be refunded as long as they hold power. Anyone who thinks they will is just fooling themselves.
One more thing. A report was just released by Good Jobs First called, SELLING SNAKE OIL TO THE STATES: The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Flawed Prescriptions for Prosperity. It tells basically how the Texas economy is a hoax.
A new study finds that state tax and regulatory policies recommended by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) fail to promote stronger job creation or income growth, and actually predict a worse performance.
Since ALEC first published its annual Rich States, Poor States study with its Economic Outlook Ranking in 2007, states that were rated better have actually done worse economically.
“We tested ALEC’s claims against actual economic results,” said Dr. Peter Fisher, primary author of the study. “We conclude that eliminating progressive taxes, suppressing wages, and cutting public services are actually a recipe for economic inequality, declining incomes, and undermining public infrastructure and education that really matter for long-term economic growth.”
Texas has been able to paper over quite a bit of this because of the oil boom. Which is the history of Texas’ economic success. When oil isn’t booming either has Texas, most times. While Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running around squawking about what be believes he’s done to help the economy, the truth is much different. What he’s done has just made the rich in Texas richer and kept the rest of us struggling.
Of course what’s not, and hasn’t been discussed for a while in all of this, is what’s best for the people of Texas. This is still the best way forward, The Best Choice For A Prosperous Texas. But nothing close to that will be on the agenda in January. There’s is little if anything good that will come out of the upcoming session for average working Texans. And little will until we change who governs our state.