Trending
MOST READ
‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

Screens: In the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James. It was an... By Stephen James Ross 10/22/2014
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

News: For more than a year now gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have dominated airwaves and secured way... By Mark Reagan 10/22/2014
5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

College Guide 2013: Nearly every college student has lived off of ramen noodles at one point or another. What a lot of them didn’t know was that the classic just-add-water... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Newsmonger

Welcome to the funhouse

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


Meanwhile, new Senate Education Committee chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, an aggressive advocate for school vouchers, last month outlined an education package that's a dream for conservative school reform pushers, and bound to define the fight over how we educate in Texas. While the details are still emerging, the plan includes a business tax scholarship that would let companies divert part of what they pay in taxes to a nonprofit that distributes needs-based scholarships to private schools. While it seems public schools could, technically, market themselves to get in on the action, opponents worry the program essentially pushes vouchers by another name, drawing public money into private schools.

Patrick still says some full-blown voucher proposal could end up in a forthcoming bill or proposal.

Budget Blues

While recession and the Tea Party revolution dealt us an austerity bomb last session, there's some reason to look at 2013 with tempered optimism, says DeLuna Castro with CPPP. State revenue forecasts are likely to surpass early projections by as much as $8 billion for the current biennium.

"If you assume they would be willing to spend the Rainy Day Fund … there just might be enough to undo most of the cuts we saw last session," she says. "But then they'd have to understand that in 2015, to keep everything going, you'll have to talk about new sources of tax revenue … And it seems like anything that postpones that day of reckoning, that's probably the route they'll take."

Apart from education, DeLuna says there are critical problems that need to be addressed and can't forever be put off. The state's transportation financing system is wholly inadequate for the state's needs, and advocates say continuing to shortchange road funding will lead to more congestion and expensive fixes later on.

Lawmakers got a serious wakeup-call this year when the Texas Water Development Board dropped a series of sobering figures in its 2012 State Water Plan. Failing to meet water supply needs could cost the state as much as $11.9 billion in lost income annually if current drought conditions persist. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, in a break from Gov. Rick Perry, has suggested drawing $1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to help local governments develop reservoirs, desalination plants, and other projects recommended by the TWDB.

Rep. Villarreal tried last session to pinpoint where, exactly, lawmakers could scrub to find more revenue in lieu of shortchanging education and safety-net services. He broke out data on inefficiencies, flagrant corporate giveaways, and loopholes in the state tax code costing the state billions. This session, he's proposing the Lege create a citizen panel to review tax code, much like a Sunset review for tax wonks.

"This is a study bill, this is suggesting we regularly study every piece of the tax code to make sure it's up to date," he said. "This is about government transparency, this is about government effectiveness.

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus