School Finance and Education Reform
My fellow Texans:
In the remaining weeks of this legislative session, we still have some very important work to do: passing a balanced budget that does not raise your taxes; reforming homeowners insurance to bring long-term rate relief; and bringing about meaningful lawsuit abuse reform that will benefit all Texans.
With the legislative clock winding down, there has been a late push to tackle what is perhaps the most complex public policy issue facing our state - school finance.
The Senate has passed a proposal from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst that would implement a statewide property tax as a means to eliminate Robin Hood while expanding and raising the sales tax you pay on a variety of goods and services. I commend the Lieutenant Governor on his diligence and hard work on this measure, as well as senators on their willingness to confront this issue. Their efforts will be invaluable as we move forward.
As Governor, I'm firmly committed to lowering property taxes. And as I stated in my inaugural address, we will eliminate Robin Hood during my administration.
However this proposal is simply a tax swap for school finance. It does not tackle some significant long-term questions on funding and wide-ranging education reform. I remain firmly convinced that it is in the best interests of Texas to implement comprehensive reform that improves our public schools while also eliminating Robin Hood.
I applaud Speaker Tom Craddick's move to name a select committee to develop such an all-inclusive solution to school finance and education reform. I have no doubt that we all share the same goals of providing quality public schools that are appropriately funded without Robin Hood and investing in a system that addresses student enrollment increases, efficiencies, accountability and performance.
I look forward to working with the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker to develop a consensus on a plan of action before calling the legislature into special session. By taking a comprehensive approach to school finance and education reform - rest assured that the days of Robin Hood in Texas are clearly numbered.