As the Texas Legislature and the budget deal seem to be breaking down over school finance, Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) is going to the mat to iron out the differences and deliver what is necessary.
Late last night when the House’s school finance bill was effectively KO’d by yet another successful Democratic Point of Order, it began to look as if the legislature would be unable to deliver the last necessary piece to cement a budget deal between the House and Senate that responsibly limits spending within our means while not raising taxes and spending the state’s savings account. Failure to incorporate a method of school finance, it is feared, could force a special session.
As we’ve stated earlier, a special session on the budget is unnecessary. Both the House and the Senate have come to agree on the framework of a fiscally responsible budget. Governor Perry has inferred his support for a budget that fits those parameters. All the legislature needs to do is decide how the budgeted education dollars will be distributed.
With a responsible, conservative budget this close at hand, now is no time to despair and stop short of finishing the job Texans expect to their legislators to accomplish.
Sen. Shapiro refuses to let the naysayers on the left derail the session. Earlier today she called for the House and Senate to quickly gather, discuss their options, and come to terms on a fix.
Both Senator Shapiro and Representative Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) have proposals they believe would remedy the issue. While Rep. Eissler’s version provides more of a quick fix, Sen. Shapiro’s proposal would play out over the long-term. There is something to be said for both approaches, and while gossip mongers in the quasi-press might wish otherwise, there is room for maneuverability for both sides – and Texas taxpayers – to win.
One way or another, the Texas legislature must reach consensus on this issue in order to close the book on next biennium’s budget. The House and Senate should follow the lead of Sen. Shapiro and Rep. Eissler and complete the job the taxpayers sent them to Austin to do.
Andrew Kerr is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
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