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Noriega on HB3

In addition to my conversation with Rep. Mike Villarreal, I also spoke to Rep. Rick Noriega about HB3 and the reasons why (unlike Rep. Villarreal) he opposed it. The highlights:

– While he believes it’s not a bad idea to spread the tax burden more broadly, he believes the implementation as spelled out in HB3 is bad. Because the revenues generated by the TTRC plan cannot maintain the desired property tax cut, it makes for bad public policy.

– He reiterated what he’d said on Dan Patrick’s radio show Tuesday (I was a first-time listener to Patrick’s show because of his appearance, which I heard about just in time) that there’s no good reason to vote for “the biggest tax hike in state history” when the budget is in surplus and none of the money raised by the new tax goes to the public schools.

– He thinks the Senate will choose to use HB1 as the basis for its legislation, not HB3. He also thinks that after they’re done adding on to it all of the things that they’re talking about, the final product may be too unpalatable for the House to pass. He believes an anti-tax backlash from conservative activists, including talk radio, will put a lot of pressure on the Senate, which from his perspective may wind up making their final effort worse.

– While some parts of HB3 may get rolled into the Senate version of HB1, he does not think Lt. Gov. Dewhurst wants to let John Sharp get the credit for what the Senate does pass. He cited Dewhurst’s recent cutting remark about Sharp’s prognostication skills as evidence for this, as well as Dewhurst’s recently launched radio ad campaign, which touts lower property taxes, a teacher pay raise, plus some reform, all of which he’s calling the Dewhurst plan.

– When I asked him what he thought the best case scenario was, he cited a minimalist approach: Do enough to meet the court’s ruling, buy down property taxes, don’t use too much of the surplus, and give the teachers a pay raise. He believes it’s better not to get too bogged down in controversial agenda items at this point in an election cycle.

– “Getting money to the schools should be the top priority,” he says.

– Finally, he says that the whole exercise in school finance has been a demonstration of why it’s a lot easier to campaign than it is to govern. “When you’re out of power, it’s easy to go around saying two plus two equals five. Once you’re in charge and you have the responsibility to make it all work, you start to realize that two plus two still equals four, no matter what you may have said before.”

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2 Comments

  1. muse says:

    Where can I go – one place – where I can find out very succinctly where it will make perfect sense what HB 3 is all about? I want to know the ins and outs in clear terms.

  2. Mike Villarreal says:

    Go to the following link; type in hb 3 and hit button titled “search for bill analysis.”

    http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/hrofr/frame2.htm