Local school districts receive a portion of their revenue from local property taxes. A drop in school property taxes can mean a loss in revenue. The Legislature said not to worry. They promised that whatever revenue was lost, they would replace it – all of it.
Here is what happened to the lost revenue: They promised to replace 100% of it. They planned for 60%. They produced 40%.
The result of the failed promise – the shortfall in public school funding – cannot be a surprise. The Governor and Legislators were warned. The State Comptroller at the time, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, wrote of the Legislature’s Tax Plan, ” Your plan is fiscally irresponsible …. As of this moment, this legislation is a staggering $23 billion short of the funds needed to pay for the promised property tax cuts over the next five years.”
The State Comptroller was right. The State of Texas is short of funds for public education. The sad news is that it did not have to happen.
So, the talk in Austin is about cutting funding for public education. However, a solution lost in the 82nd Legislature’s budget debate is: Fulfill your promise.