There can be no sacred cows in the state’s budget — and that includes public education. Lawmakers will come to Austin with a softening national economy and the effects are being felt in the Permanent School Fund, which draws investment income from state mineral leases. The Fund, used to purchase textbooks, has seen its value drop over the last two years, which means some textbook funding will need to come from general revenues.
But not so fast, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is saying. The Houston Chronicle reports Dewhurst said that textbooks would “compete against other priorities.” He went on to say that the Legislature “will not jeopardize our children’s education.”
That is as it should be, on both counts.
Every line-item, every program, project and expenditure, must be carefully scrubbed and compared against every other. Lawmakers must choose, for example, between school books and subsidies to movie-makers. That’s what they signed on for, and that’s what taxpayers expect.