Gov. Perry Signs Bill to Increase Clean Energy Production
Says Lawmakers Can Still Deliver Education Reform, Tax Relief if They Have Will
Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law Senate Bill 20, which will increase the production of clean energy - such as wind, biomass and solar power - in Texas.
"The more we can rely on wind, water and sunlight to power our homes and businesses, the less dependent we will be on foreign oil and the better our economy will be in the long run because of greater stability," Perry said. "And by taking steps now to reduce pollution we can ensure that the Texas of tomorrow is one where our children are free to live safer, healthier and happier lives."
Senate Bill 20, authored by Sen. Troy Fraser and sponsored by Rep. Phil King, requires that about 5 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2015 and sets a goal of 10 percent by 2025. The bill further helps diversify the state's sources of energy by requiring that 500 megawatts be produced by renewable sources other than wind, such as biomass and solar power.
Perry said Senate Bill 20 makes an important investment in the future of Texas, but one that pales in comparison to the opportunity the legislature has to investment in the classroom in the remaining 19 days of this special session.
"Having talked to a number of senators and representatives, I still sense a strong interest in delivering more money for education, and property tax relief for homeowners and employers," Perry said. "Each day that passes without education reform is another day textbooks remain in warehouses instead of being shipped to classrooms and money set aside for teacher pay raises sits idle in a bank account. In addition, legislators have a chance to make a strong statement by ensuring 65 percent of education dollars go to direct classroom instruction."
Perry said that school districts argue against themselves if they claim on one hand the state is not putting enough money into the classroom in a lawsuit, and on the other hand fight efforts to put a greater percentage of education dollars into their classrooms.
"The people still want more of their tax dollars spent directly in the classroom," Perry added. "They still want better pay for teachers and new textbooks for students. They still want greater accountability in school budgets, and they still want relief from property taxes that are threatening to drive them out of their homes."
He acknowledged that votes on school finance are not easy but added, "Just as importantly, there is no easy explanation for failing to pass property tax relief, funding for textbooks and teacher pay raises, and education reform."