Texas School Funding Fight has Dems Blaming Tax Structure, Business Leaders Saying “It’s the economy (stupid)” AUDIO

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth

It seems to me the two sides in the fight over how to pay for public schools in Texas aren’t even in the same building, let alone the same room.

On one side, you have school administrators and Democrats, like State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, blaming the tax structure set up by the Republican leadership in 2006.  The whole idea was that property taxes would be reduced while replacing that money with a tax on business, that at the time Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn Cougar Mellancamp (names added with the help of Kinky Friedman) said would not perform as well as Governor Perry and others promised.

Mitch Carr and I spoke with Senator Davis this morning.  Listen:

Sen. Wendy Davis on School Funding by Scott Braddock

On the other side, conservatives and business leaders argue the economy hasn’t been robust enough to create enough revenue from the business tax to adequately fund schools. I asked Texas Association of Business President and CEO Bill Hammond if there’s any middle ground. Hammond argues that, despite the warnings from the comptroller, the loss of revenue to schools really is a function of the economic downturn.  Listen:

TAB President Bill Hammond on School Funding by Scott Braddock

This is where the argument is after Plano Superintendent Doug Otto told me last week that Governor Perry’s claims on school funding are “disingenuous” and “idiocy.” Since then, one superintendent privately told me that other superintendents may start speaking out just as harshly.  He said “The time has to be right and it is getting close.”

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