The group of state senators who consistently march to Dan Patrick’s drumroll against public education are getting overly sensitive to criticism now that voting has begun and some of them are on the ballot. They are lousy budget writers, when it comes to funding schools, health care and other things Texans really need, but in the political season they love to churn out fiction.
Four of these senators – chief Senate budget-writer Jane Nelson, Kelly Hancock, Brian Birdwell and Konni Burton – were not very happy when Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a fellow Republican, correctly blew the whistle on them and their legislative allies for high property taxes. A major reason, as Whitley publicly pointed out, was their failure to adequately fund public education.
Not so, the four weakly protested in a recent oped in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Claiming to “care about our children’s education” and be “concerned” about rising property taxes, they said they approved a state budget that increased state funding for public schools by $5.2 billion. But that was an amount automatically required by enrollment growth.
The senators flatly ignored the fact that they did nothing to improve overall school funding or ease the burden on local property taxpayers. Instead, they let the state’s share of basic school funding drop to a pitiful 38 percent next year, meaning that local property taxes will have to assume even more of school costs, the remaining 62 percent.
Sens. Burton and Hancock are up for reelection this year.
Meanwhile, according to Texas Monthly, another Patrick follower, Sen. Charles Perry of Lubbock, has called reports about the poor state funding of public education “fake news” concocted by the news media. In truth, the figures came from the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislature’s budgetary experts.
The only thing fake about this, folks, is the fiction being generated by Perry and his fellow Patrick lieutenants, who persist in neglecting the needs of public schools and local taxpayers and then deny it. Small wonder they and their allies want to suppress the educator vote.
Early voting in both party primaries continues through March 2. If you haven’t already, take a look at Republican and Democratic candidates endorsed by TSTA PAC and Vote Education First!