Monday, February 21, 2011

Texas budget headed in the wrong direction

After the initial release of the Republican state’s budget, four Republican members of the House, led by James Keffer of Eastland, proclaimed their own party is off on the wrong foot.  Virtual abolition of four community colleges and pre-kindergarten programs in Texas is not so attractive as a way to balance our budget to these representatives; mainly because in essence, the proposal comes close to doing away with community colleges in their district.

The proposed cuts in public education will create a mini-depression in Texas costing local districts approximately 100,000 jobs; or will require massive increases in the taxes on your home or business.  No new taxes at the state level, although it will help the Governor’s pledge of no increase in taxes, will result in increased taxes at the local level.  Even worse, taking a bite out of one of the most critical programs as public education will end up costing America in the future.  

Education experts, based on long-term studies, state a potential drop out from school can be predicted as early as the second grade.  One of the most effective ways to ensure students will get a decent education and stick with the learning process through high school depends on the success of early intervention programs such as pre-kindergarten.   

Too many Texans send their children to school totally unprepared for formal education.  They have never seen a magazine or book in their home; they are not subject to educational activities with their parents and they enter the school process completely intimidated.  It is difficult for such a child to learn in the early grades and soon becomes frustrated to the point they cannot succeed in secondary education.  

Our leaders who cannot see this, or will not admit to this, are creating a perfect formula for Texas to continue with the lowest paid number of jobs in the country and a huge drag on our economic engine.

For many years, I have read that persons with alcohol or drug problems are not very likely to succeed in rehabilitation unless they first recognize they do in fact have a problem.  Unfortunately, our current leaders in Austin appear to be making the same mistake.  Our Governor, for example, and others, refuses to recognize we have a record deficit budget which may need to be solved.  To reinforce this belief, or persuade you to think the same way, they have “phonied up” a way of calculating our budget’s shortfall.
Courtesy Texas Tribune

Traditionally, the state Comptroller calculates the revenue available for the next two years and then forecasts what will be the necessary expenditures based on the projection of needs such as education, healthcare, highways, etc.

If the Comptroller had calculated using this method, the budget deficit would amount to 25-27 billion dollars   However, she abandoned this method and produced a figure by simply subtracting the forecasted revenue from the current level of spending.  

Unfortunately, the Comptroller’s estimate does not add into the expected need for revenue the growth of public education and the increased numbers that will enter into our public schools.  Nor does it account for an aging population which will have a greater need for Medicaid and other health services.

Even worse, our Governor has proclaimed he will see that Texas does not touch its “rainy day fund.”  Apparently, he is enjoying the bright lights of the Governor’s office without looking outside to see whether or not it truly is a rainy day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed and it may take a little bit before your comment is published. Anonymous contributions take a lot longer and may perish for lack of attention.