A retiring member of the Texas Senate wants the governor to call a lame-duck session of the Legislature for the purpose of imposing a statewide property tax. Frankly, one simply cannot pack more wrong-thinking into a single proposal.
State Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) is reportedly pushing for the special session. Predictably, liberal pundits are applauding the idea. The Quorum Report, a liberal subscription-based Austin blog, cheered on the notion saying that “with substantial turnover in the Legislature looming next year, a lame-duck session may be the best opportunity to accomplish reforms.”
Only if “accomplish reforms” is code for “raise taxes” and “not reform spending.”
The expected “substantial turnover” in the legislature alone should be enough to raise concerns among voters about allowing those politicians who’ve been turned-out from inflicting long-term harm on the people of Texas.
Practically, a lame-duck session would be an expensive exercise in legislative futility. Imposing a statewide property tax (Mr. Ogden’s apparent brainchild) would require adoption of a constitutional amendment – and therefore a vote of the people. Are you willing to take on a new, statewide property tax to spend even more money on an inefficient and unreformed system of public education?
This means Mr. Ogden’s fellow lame-duckers would engage in actions prompting substaintial budget realignments – all contingent on voters approving a foolish tax-expansion to fund a mostly unreformed and outdated bureaucracy. In reality, the lame-duckers would be digging an even deeper hole for the new legislators and the taxpayers who elected them.
If a future special session on education reform is needed, do it with a legislature that has to stand before the people and account for their actions.
Before we start putting more money into the bureaucracy (Texas currently spend $12k per pupil), we should first define what we expect those public education dollars to achieve. For those who like our education dollars buying jumbo-size scoreboards, professional-grade soccer stadiums, luxury trucks for bureaucrats, and declining academic results… well, we’re there. No need for change or reform.
The spenders would have you believe efficiency is achieved through more spending. That’s not how the real world works.
In reality, most Texans would like to see our tax dollars actually directed to the classroom, freeing teachers from the stifling burden of administrators, and engaging students beyond training for test-taking.
Rest assured a lame-duck session will produce little more than a bigger bite out of your wallet. When legislators suggest actions that separate them from electoral consequences, little good is being contemplated and even less will be achieved.