August 12, 2005
Craddick v. Dewhurst: Radio wars

You don't think all this sparring between Tom Craddick and David Dewhurst over whether the remainder of this special session is a waste of time or not is getting personal, do you? Nah.

House Speaker Tom Craddick, who last week said lawmakers were "wasting time and money" trying to break an impasse on school finance, is taking to radio airwaves to blame the Senate.

Craddick used campaign funds to record an ad stating that the House passed "strong school and tax-reform measures" but that the Senate "watered down or eliminated those reforms."

Craddick also says the Legislature "will make the necessary adjustments" if the Texas Supreme Court issues an opinion about the constitutionality of the current school finance system that requires action.

"However, we will not continue to put more money into a system without the reforms to fix it," says Craddick.

The ads signal increasing tension between Craddick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. The Senate ignored Craddick's call for immediate adjournment of the second special session and passed an education-overhaul bill Tuesday.

"Speaker Craddick's time and energy would be better spent on solving the state's educational needs than on unprecedented and misleading advertisements," said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Dewhurst.

"The Senate's bill, SB 8, is a good bill that provides real reform in our schools, additional pay for teachers and puts additional funds in classrooms which are tied to accountability."

Here's the full text of the ad, via the Quorum Report.

"Recently, I acknowledged the Legislature's impasse on school finance and tax reforms. I wanted to level with all Texans concerning our difficult struggle in Austin.

The House passed strong school and tax reform measures early in the regular and first called special sessions. The Texas Senate, however, sent a bill to the House that watered down or eliminated those reforms. As Speaker, I don't believe the House should be a party to passing legislation that doesn't contain proper education reforms such as more local control and accountability.

"In the event that the Texas Supreme Court issues an opinion requiring some action, the Legislature will make the necessary adjustments. However, we will not continue to put more money into a system without the reforms to fix it.

"I promise you: Any school reform bill that passes the Texas House will contain real reforms."

"Not like what those jokers in the Senate might do," the script does not go on to add. Yeah, it's just business. Nothing to see here.

Craddick's reason for airing the ad is priceless.

Craddick spokeswoman Alexis DeLee said the speaker decided to run the spots, paid for with his campaign funds, because people throughout Texas have expressed confusion about the status of the school finance debate.

Sure can't imagine why they might feel that way, Lexi!

One last thing, going back to the Chron story:

Gov. Rick Perry also has used campaign funds this summer to run radio ads supporting his tax plan to lower school property taxes. Tobacco giant Philip Morris has run spots against Perry's plan, which includes a $1-per-pack cigarette tax.

And right here in Houston, Rep. Garnet Coleman has also run ads denouncing the Perry tax plan. Let's not overlook that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 12, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

Ellis has it right that the Repub plan is crap. He has it wrong however that the Dem plan is any better.

They're both miserable for different reasons.


Posted by: Sedosi on August 12, 2005 6:19 PM