Is Amendment VI worth the risk? - Texas Scorecard

On November 8th we vote on ten Texas Constitutional Amendments which do everything from allowing more bond debt to changing election law.

Amendment six clarifies language that lets the General Land Office distribute more revenue from the permanent school fund to public schools. Don’t let the fancy language in the actual amendment fool you; six is all about getting more money to schools – which is the purpose of the permanent school fund.

But, voters should take a sober reading of amendment six and think about whether it is a good idea to begin less re-investment in the fund just to get a little spending pleasure short term. As legislative opponents have pointed out, the fund is meant to provide interest revenue from investment of the fund’s permanent assets, and it would be unwise to spend funds that otherwise should be invested.

No doubt many will support amendment six as they just see it as more money for public schools but, it could have exactly the opposite affect down the road. If less of the fund’s earnings are re-invested it will not continue to grow as fast. And, as Texas population is projected to continue to grow, that could make the body of the fund smaller relative to the number of school children in the state over time. It could also make the fund smaller relative to its current purchasing power if we were to end up in a long period of inflation.

Amendment six on the permanent school fund looks to be a no vote to me but, I’ll see what others have to say before proffering my final recommendation.

Over the next few weeks on Pratt on Texas, we’ll look at all ten amendments and bring you as many legitimate arguments for and against as possible.