In the report, we see the Mayor’s PAC has spent $104,000 and raised just $50,000 which means we only have visibility into about 40% of the money being spent so far. Of that 40%, the vast majority comes from people or companies in the lobbying, real estate and construction businesses. And almost half of the money comes from just two companies which each gave $10,000 donations. Read More
When experts in Austin talk about how unlikely it is that school finance will change without a court order, its because of special interests like these. If we lower property taxes as a source of revenue for state public education, that money has to come from somewhere else. And in every fight that has come before, no consensus has ever been formed on a better place to get that money.
Grocery stores don’t want the state taxing bananas. Newspapers don’t want the state taxing information. Business don’t want new franchise taxes. No one wants a state income tax. And no legislator in the State of Texas that plans on running for re-election is going to stand up against the lobbyists that threaten to unseat them if they suggest a new tax on anything. Read More
Whether they cost us money or grant us money—good public policies that increase equity for Texas children should never be Houston ISD's enemy, and our public servants shouldn’t be paid to fight for their demise on our behalf. And when those public employees stretch the truth or keep the public in the dark about important facts, we need to look past this issue and ask what kind of leadership we expect from our senior administrators and of the trustees that set their agenda. Only when we have our own house in order will we be truly effective at convincing the state and its voters that public education is deserving of greater investment. Read More
Houston ISD's information on recapture is confusing—if not down right biased. First and foremost, HISD communicates that recapture cost $162 million this year and drove a budget deficit which required cuts to classroom spending. Then, the material forecasts recapture payments to total more than $1 billion dollars over four years.
All of this is true. But by stopping with those figures, they lead the public to believe that future increases to recapture payments will drive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional budget cuts. This is simply not true. Read More
If we let politicians oversimplify the problem to it being only about Houston keeping its money, we do Texas and its children a great disservice. If we advocate for keeping our taxes but ask someone else to come up with a solution for adequately funding the charter school students in our midst or the rural and suburban students far away, we dare the system to break down even further.
We must be really careful. Not only is the immediate cost of recapture to Houston on the line—the difference between $162 million and $192 million dollars this year, but so, too, is the battle to adequately fund public education in Texas. Read More