June 10, 2004
Haven't we heard this before?

Perry: Special session possible this summer

AUSTIN -- As lawmakers discuss changes to the way the state pays for public schools, Gov. Rick Perry said today there is still a chance for another special session on the issue this summer.

"I think there's still a good possibility. The Legislature is making good progress," Perry said. "Unless something gets stuck in the machinery to stop it, I see us continuing to move forward."

Lawmakers ended a special legislative session last month without passing a school funding plan to replace the current system that relies heavily on local property taxes and requires property-rich districts to send money to property-poor ones.

Perry has said he would call as many special sessions as necessary to get a plan approved but he has not said when the next session would start.

Sen. Steve Ogden, a Republican from Bryan who heads the Senate Finance Committee, said this week that for an overhaul to work the Legislature would need to approve amendments to the Texas Constitution. Constitutional amendments require support from two-thirds of the members in both chambers.

Some of the measures Ogden mentioned that would require a constitutional amendment include capping property and business taxes and legalizing video gambling. The Legislature would need to approve the proposals by late August to get the issue on the November general election ballot.

Rep. Talmadge Heflin, a Houston Republican who is chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said there was not support in the House to pass any constitutional amendments and Ogden said he was unsure if enough senators would agree.

Same bull, different day. I am just amazed at how much of a clown our governor is. It's like he expects this to happen by magic, because he sure isn't contributing to the solution. I cannot wait for 2006.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 10, 2004 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

July 5th is the date I heard, but the Republicans aren't necessarily spreading the word.

Posted by: Sandra on June 11, 2004 8:56 AM

But isn't every session with the delightful Rick special in its own way?

Maybe they ought to put a tax on "special sessions" to pay for our schools....

Posted by: amblongus on June 11, 2004 10:23 AM

Charles, you don't like our governor, and that's your right, but you offer no evidence what he is or isn't doing behind the scenes, and I suspect you have no clue (nor do I). But to say he isn't contributing to the solution is to imply you do have that knowledge. So pony up -- either you know something you're not sharing in this post, or you're just performing for the partisans here.

That last is your right too, of course, but this blog is generally better than that on state politics.

Posted by: kevin whited on June 11, 2004 5:22 PM

Jeez, Kevin, I'd have thought his record spoke for itself by now. But if you insist:

- Perry publicly pissed on the Senate's unanimously-passed plan to overhaul school finance during the regular session.

- After weeks of claiming he'd call a session once he'd achieved consensus, he went and called a session anyway even though it was clear that there was no consensus of any kind.

- The proposals he made at the start of that session were received with at best lukewarm enthusiasm and were ultimately voted down 126-0 as an act of revenge by Republican lawmakers who were fed up with his intransigence on tax matters.

- Thanks to his insistence that a business activity tax was verboten, the House sent a blank bill to the Senate, which did nothing before the session was adjourned ahead of the deadline.

- What exactly has changed since then? Perry still opposes a business activity tax, Jane Nelson is still ready to filibuster any slot machine bills to death, and no one thinks there's enough votes to pass anything in either chamber. What do you think are the odds that a summer session will advance the ball? Has anyone, any Republican, spoken for the record lately to credit Perry for making progress on this issue, or have all of the claims come solely from the Governor's office? Why else would Ogden and Heflin say what they said?

- And finally, just to add a little icing, Perry causes a storm by saying it doesn't really matter what anyone does, he knows how the state Supreme Court will rule because so many of its members owe him for appointing them. This causes the school superintendent of Highland Park (Highland freaking Park!) to say Perry doesn't have a clue about school finance.

What more do you want? The evidence is clear. I see no reason to sugar coat it.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on June 11, 2004 7:19 PM