The future is coming, folks, despite what many members of the legislative majority in Austin seem to think as they continue practicing the politics of denial.
Just yesterday, the Senate approved a new state budget that under-funds education and other critical state services, despite the fact that the state’s population will continue to grow, adding 80,000 students a year to Texas public schools and stretching an infrastructure of public services that already is perilously thin.
The House version of the budget would spend more on education, but both the House and the Senate would leave billions of dollars unspent or dedicated to “tax relief” – tax reductions that will give conservative leaders something to brag about but which will be largely unnoticed by the vast majority of Texas taxpayers.
Not only are many legislators denying the needs of a growing population, they also are denying what that population will look like.
Last week, a Senate committee approved two separate bills that slap at the emerging majority of Texans. One would repeal a state law that allows some children of undocumented immigrants – children who have lived in Texas for years and graduated from high school here – to pay in-state tuition at state universities. The other, a so-called “sanctuary cities” bill, would stop cities from putting limits on immigration enforcement by local police officers.
Both bills, spurred by the politics of fear and denial, are championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who refuses to recognize – or admit — that putting the state in reverse is not leadership.
The future is coming, folks, and no number of under-funded budgets or immigrant-bashing bills is going to change that fact. Under-funded budgets and fear-mongering legislation, however, are going to leave Texas ill-prepared to deal with its future needs.