The headline: School budgets hanging on TCEQ decision. The story from the Austin newspaper goes on to explain that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a decision to make which “could strike a major blow to the budgets of many school districts that will have to be made up, in part, by the state,” which only means different taxpayers.

The issue comes from Valero’s request to exempt pollution control equipment from property taxes including very expensive hydroeaters used in refineries. Valero’s claim is that the equipment is mandated by the federal government for pollution control and thus should qualify for at least partial exemption from the property tax.

Ingleside ISD gets 85% of tax revenue from two refineries and claims that a partial exemption could devastate their school budget.

I’ve observations to make. First, the press rarely worries about regulatory decisions striking a “major blow” to the budgets of private citizens and companies but, gets all upset at the idea of a government entity having less. Second, it’s amusing when one government’s overreach into the economy ends up working against the desires of another government.

And lastly, I wonder just how Ingleside and other districts would like it if the refineries simply closed all together and moved around the coastal bend to Mexico? How would that help their budgets?

Robert Pratt is host of the top rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at