Month: October 2018

Sen. Don Huffines fears educators, not immigrants

 

Voter registration is up, and state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas, who has made a political career of attacking public schools and promoting privatization, is worried. He is worried because he knows he has done nothing to generate that much enthusiasm for his re-election, and he has a pro-public education opponent, Nathan Johnson, who is running a very strong campaign against him.

So what does Huffines do? He doesn’t have a legitimate campaign issue. So he borrows a tactic from Donald Trump and lies. He lies about a horde of imaginary undocumented immigrants who have descended upon Dallas and registered to vote. And he calls on a Senate committee to conduct an emergency hearing to help him out by lending a stamp of “authenticity” to his charade.

According to an article on Quorum Report, Huffines said he had heard of “allegations of illegal voting by non-citizens and officials’ failure to adequately respond.”

Baloney.

Undocumented immigrants don’t come to the United States to vote. They come here for economic opportunity or to escape political persecution or crime in their home countries. They want to avoid detection, and trying to vote is a sure-fire way to get caught.

But it is easier for Huffines to promote hysteria and hate against immigrants than it is to defend his own record in the state Senate. Educators should be reminded that it is a record that includes:

# Killing a $1.9 billion increase in public school funding during a special session last year.

# Voting for every private school voucher bill that has come his way.

# Supporting the so-called “bathroom bill” that would have discriminated against vulnerable children in public schools and encouraged bullying.

# Voting for public education budgets that have steadily transferred the lion’s share of school funding to local property taxpayers.

Don Huffines purports to represent state Senate District 16 in Dallas. In truth, he represents an extreme political ideology.

Educators, parents and taxpayers in District 16 who truly care about public schools have a clear choice in this election – Nathan Johnson, an education advocate, school volunteer and community leader. Nathan has been endorsed by TSTA-PAC and, unlike Huffines, isn’t afraid of people voting in large numbers.

 

 

 

Want to lower your property taxes? Don’t vote for Abbott or Patrick

 

Some political promises are predictable…and worthless. Gov. Greg Abbott’s vow, during last weekend’s debate, to provide “relief” for property taxpayers was predictable. It was just as predictable as the fact that he won’t provide a cent of real relief if he is reelected to another term.

Lupe Valdez, the governor’s Democratic opponent, correctly pointed out during the debate that you can’t address the problem of high property taxes without increasing state funding for public schools, which Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and their legislative allies repeatedly have refused to do. And if they are reelected in November, they will continue to profess concern for high property taxes while continuing to under-fund public education.

Texas schools have two main sources of funding – state revenue and local property taxes – and, as I have noted before, the state’s share has been steadily declining under Abbott’s watch. The state’s share of the Foundation School Program is expected to hit a low of 38 percent during this school year, with local property taxpayers paying 62 percent.

If the governor really wanted to provide relief to local taxpayers, he would have demanded that the Legislature increase its share of education funding, but he never has. Just last year, he joined with Patrick to slam the door on a bill approved by the Texas House that would have increased state education funding by $1.9 billion during the current budget period.

Instead, Abbott and Patrick support a phony form of tax “relief” that would put arbitrary restrictions on the ability of local elected officials, including city councils, to raise the revenue their constituents need for essential public services. Those efforts so far have failed, but they will continue if Abbott and Patrick are reelected. Both will continue to pretend to hate the high property taxes that they love to see you have to pay.