Monday, July 11, 2005

The Texas Legislature is struggling to pay for school financing and reduce property taxes. Property taxes have been the "principal" source of school funds for some time. It is not easy to raise money and lower taxes at the same time.

Since you really cannot create something from nothing, unless you are God, you must really just find other things to tax and reduce the property tax by the amount you raise on other things. Then you hope it comes out even. And you hope the other people you tax do not scream as loud as property owners.

So, look for your cigarettes and beer to cost a lot more. They are looking to raise about $900 million. The original plan was to raise about $2 billion, but that required attaching a franchise tax to non-corporate entities. That sent doctors and lawyers screaming.

All this is like playing Twister with the tax codes. The Lege wants badly to continue avoiding a state income tax. So sales taxes will rise and be applied to more occupations.

There are two main needs here. The first is that the courts have held that schools must be consistent, or somewhat consistent, statewide as far as funding goes. Think of it a socialism for counties, taking from some to pay for others.

The second is the persistent idea that the way to fix the problems in education is to throw money at it rather than examine the philosophy behind it and change it to fit our needs. Interestingly, little of the money that is thrown is thrown at the teachers that are responsible for your child's education.
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