"...he cuts $3 billion from the property tax rate the first year and $1 billion through additional homestead exemptions the second year. He gets to $7 billion by counting the initial tax cut again in the second year, arguing that once it's cut, property owners save that much each successive year," according to Hoppe. Do check out Hoppe's commentary/critique of the Perry proposal at the bottom in the "Fact Check" section. His claims appear a bit over the top.
Perry kicks off race with radio ad blitz
School finance proposal is focus of message; critics say it's old news
10:07 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 22, 2005
By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the political season Wednesday by airing a statewide radio commercial touting his education funding plan.
The 60-second ad asks people to call their lawmakers and urge them to support the Perry Plan, which he unveiled Tuesday to a less than enthusiastic reception from legislators who are busy honing their own proposals.
House Speaker Tom Craddick said the governor was trotting out a list of ideas already discussed by lawmakers, but Mr. Perry described his plan as a middle ground between the House and Senate. Lawmakers ended the regular session last month in a stalemate over which chamber's version of education finance should be passed.
"We'll spend some resources out of the campaign to do this," said Perry campaign spokesman Luis Saenz. "He believes action is necessary."
A weeklong ad buy such as Mr. Perry's generally costs about $200,000 a week.
Mr. Perry also intends to launch a three-day tour of the state today to promote his education package, starting this morning in Irving. He spent much of the day Wednesday meeting and speaking with about 60 lawmakers to discuss his plan, said spokesman Robert Black.
"He'll sell it all over the state," Mr. Black said. "He'll be very visible and very loud."
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is running against Mr. Perry in the Republican primary, says the governor is failing to tell Texans about the billions in new taxes he intends to raise to pay for his plan.
"It sounds like Perry is afraid that legislators are going to say 'Adios' to his tax-increasing, phony proposal, and if they do, he knows voters will be saying 'Adios' to him in March," said Mark Sanders, a spokesman for Mrs. Strayhorn.
Mr. Sanders' use of "Adios" was a reference to what the governor acknowledged was an inappropriate remark caught on camera at the end of an interview Monday. Mr. Perry said "Adios" and signed off with a vulgarity.
Mr. Sanders said the radio ad was "the first taste of Perry's new math."
The Strayhorn aide said that the figures don't add up, that Mr. Perry makes promises that aren't part of his plan, and that he claims ideas that are part of what lawmakers have already proposed.
Mrs. Strayhorn has not offered a school finance plan of her own.
Mr. Sanders said her first proposal, if elected, would be that the Legislature restore the Texas Performance Reviews – efficiency proposals and audits that have historically saved millions – to the comptroller's office. He said Mrs. Strayhorn could then find extra money for schools without raising taxes.
The performance reviews were stripped from Mrs. Strayhorn two years ago by lawmakers and made the responsibility of the Legislature's budget office.
In his new radio ad, Gov. Rick Perry makes several claims about his school-finance plan that educators and lawmakers have taken issue with:
The plan would put $5 billion into schools. That's spread over two years, though, and almost $2 billion is eaten up by projected increases in enrollment and is not available for new programs.
The plan would give teachers a $1,500 pay raise. House and Senate plans give twice that amount, and even with a $3,000 annual raise, Texas teachers still would earn less than the national average.
His plan touts $7 billion in property tax relief. Actually, he cuts $3 billion from the property tax rate the first year and $1 billion through additional homestead exemptions the second year. He gets to $7 billion by counting the initial tax cut again in the second year, arguing that once it's cut, property owners save that much each successive year.
Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/062305dntexperry.36948247.html