Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Voter input can help motivate lawmakers

Editorial / San Antonio Express-News
Posted: 07/26/2005 12:00 AM CDT

If the last special session is any guide, Texas lawmakers are likely to come up with a half-baked, unfair and inadequate school finance plan in the current session — if they come up with one at all.

If the Legislature wants to reduce property taxes, it should make the cuts big enough to be worth the effort, not just enough to campaign on next year.

And while they are changing the tax system, lawmakers must increase the amount of revenue spent on public schools if they want to prepare Texas children for the economy of the future.

The state has been shirking its fair share of the cost of education for too long and dumping the burden on local property owners.

The state's long-term economic health is at stake. Improving public schools must be the top priority in this debate if Texas is to prosper in the long run.

A broad-based business tax that imposes the burden on all companies and partnerships equitably would be preferable to the hodgepodge that was debated in a conference committee during the last special session.

Stretching the sales tax to new heights hurts poor Texans.

The solutions that came close to approval in the last session didn't match the state's needs and failed the fairness test.

Shifting the tax burden won't solve the problem.

If Texans want to influence the direction of the state's school finance and taxing structure, now is the time to let lawmakers know that voters want real action and real reform.

We urge readers to contact lawmakers and tell them to fix the school finance system, add revenue for education and pay for it fairly.
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