Statement of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn
on Governor Rick Perry's School Finance Proposal
April 2004"Over the next five years, Governor Perry's plan will increase taxes and levies by $12.1 billion and create a deficit of more than $10 billion that our children will be paying for the rest of their lives. You've heard of financing schemes that have a balloon payment at the end? This one has the Hindenburg."
-- Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn
The Governor has released a proposal intended to lower school property taxes and to increase funding to schools. Its fiscal inadequacies, while stupendous—creating a deficit of more than $10 billion over the first five years—is only surpassed by its policy inadequacies and failure to address the school financing crisis.
Failing Our Taxpayers and Our Children
- $1.36 billion immediate tax and levy hike in fiscal 2005, which begins this September; no property tax relief in fiscal 2005
- Another $5.9 billion tax and levy hike for the 2006-2007 biennium
- One-time $1.8 billion tax acceleration
- Does not work financially, creates a deficit of more than $10 billion over five years
- Partnering with sexually oriented nightclubs for $35 million a year (Less than the Governor's $45 million projection)
- Constitutionally questionable taxation: cigarette surcharge on non-settlement companies
- Putting out a bounty on taxpayers: private tax collectors lack the tools of the Comptroller and the Attorney General
- On average, the plan will increase spending per student by $10 annually in 2006 and $53 in 2007
- Average homeowner would save $204 annually, less than $20 a month (Less than half of the $418 annual savings projected by the Governor)
- Businesses' property taxes in 203 school districts would go up, not down
- Credit cards for lottery tickets, in plan but not in call
- Intimidate the working poor: Put Big Brother into used car sales
- Replaces Robin Hood with Robbin' Everybody. Takes taxpayers out for separate muggings: Split-roll becomes "constitutionally linked tax system" that rewards rich, mansion districts.
- Destroys local control: Both education and taxation
- Perpetuates inequality
- Does not simplify education finance system, but makes it more complex and difficult to administer
- Insignificant new money for education except for unworkable excellence incentives that cannot be matched locally
- More than 60% of school districts don't get any more money—those that get lots include Highland Park, Alamo Heights and Eanes. Those that do not get a penny more include Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, El Paso and Austin