Wednesday, March 09, 2005

HB 2 Opponents Fire Away

HB 2 Opponents Fire Away
Tuesday, March 8, 2005, 02:49 PM

They’re not yet talking about amendments. And they’re certainly not yet close to taking a final vote on the full bill. But the floor debate about House Bill 2 is warming up quickly.

After supporters gave their version this morning of what the bill contains, the House returned from a lunch break, and bill author Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, began taking questions from members. That’s when much of the criticism that’s been leveled in news conferences and in committee meetings for the past three weeks officially hit the floor of the full House.

Rep. Bob E. Griggs, R-North Richland Hills, asked why the bill didn’t contain enough money, according to previous studies, to enable 90 percent of students pass state tests. Rep. Vilma Luna, D-Corpus Christi, asked why the bill didn’t include money for facilities. Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, asked why the bill would allot extra money to high schools but place no requirements on how it is spent. And Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, asked why the bill and the accompanying House Bill 3 would concentrate tax cuts on Texans making more than $100,000 per year.

Grusendorf sounded some of the same themes that he has voiced repeatedly in support of the bill: that it provides more money for schools and that the money would be spent more wisely. The bill’s critics didn’t seem to be buying it.

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