August 13, 2005
Once more into the fog

On they go again with the school finance bills.

A House committee Friday kicked out two bills that could revive flagging efforts to rewrite school finance laws, but major hurdles remain to passing the plan before the special session ends Friday.

As early as Tuesday, the full House could again be voting on a major education overhaul as well as a tax swap plan to raise sales and business taxes in order to lower local school property taxes.

"Irregardless of what the press may say and what everybody's going on about, we are trying to work this (tax) bill out," said Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas.


Swinford said he is working with Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden to make any needed changes to the tax bill on the House floor so it can move quickly if it reaches the Senate.

Ogden, R-Bryan, said the tax bill passed by the select committee is "fairly close" to legislation that was agreed on by Senate and House negotiators at the end of the first special session last month.

"The dynamics are changing. The session is no longer dead, it's basically breathing again. It's a race against time now to get this done," Ogden said.


"I fully expect us to be able to pass this bill out of the House," Swinford said.

With all due respect, fellas, we've heard that before.

This is just more of the same - there's nothing new, just different pieces moved around. I was at the Greater Heights Democratic Club meeting this morning, where Rep. Jessica Farrar was one of the speakers. I asked her if Rep. Scott Hochberg was going to introduce his amendment again, the one whose adoption a couple of weeks ago changed the dynamic of this session. She said the Democrats' legislative study group was still plotting its strategy. Personally, I'll be more than a little surprised if it doesn't get brought up.

[House Education Chairman Kent] Grusendorf said there's not time to have a conference committee on the school funding bill and held out the idea that it may take yet another special session possibly after the Texas Supreme Court rules on the school finance lawsuit before it becomes law.

"I feel fairly confident if it does not pass next week, we'll be back in the not-too-distant future," he said.

God help us all.

UPDATE: More from Aaron Pena and Dave McNeely. Rawhide notes a timing issue, while In the Pink observes a natural law.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 13, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

"Irregardless" is not a word Swinford. That's all I have to say about that.

Posted by: Dante on August 13, 2005 5:19 PM