Finally, a man-bites-dog story. The Austin American Statesman, which has rarely found a government program it won’t grow, a tax it won’t levy, or a cause too liberal, has today come out strongly against the school district’s proposed tax hike. They even take aim at the local chapter of the bad-teachers union. There’s either been an outbreak of common sense, or some liberal editor fell asleep at the switch.

The Statesman editorial notes that the Austin ISD tax hike proposal of an additional $336 per household per year is “too high” and that proposals from “Education Austin” (the thuggish union for bad teachers) to raise taxes even higher are “particularly egregious, given the economic slump in which many people are struggling to pay for basics — gasoline, housing, utilities and food.”

One can only wonder how long will it be until union thugs dump sugar in the gas tanks of the Statesman editors for that kind of right-wing blather…

The editors even suggest using some of the district’s $120 million “fund-balance” (in the real world, it’s called a “surplus” or even “over-taxation”) to deal with rising costs.

Maybe the Statesman will next start asking why academic performance is falling. According to the TEA, student passing rates have fallen from 74.3% in 2001 to 64% in 2007, while administrator pay in Austin has risen from $76153 in 2001 to $84,076 in 2007. Per-pupil expenditures have risen from $6,373 in 2001 to $8,151 in 2007.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."