from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
November 22, 2005
Contact: Lewis Simmons
(940) 689-0191

Senator Craig Estes Comments on Supreme Court Ruling

AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, said the Texas Supreme Court has provided important guidance needed to help the Legislature implement needed changes to public school finance.

"It is the issue facing Texas today. We need to lower property taxes significantly and reform the business tax. Our goal is to provide a reliable and long-term source for funding public schools," Estes said.

"I am optimistic that the court's ruling will get the Senate, the House and governor all moving in the same direction to craft a plan that meets the court's directive and do what's right for the school children and taxpayers of this state," Estes said.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled today that local property taxes used to finance public schools results in an unconstitutional statewide property tax because many school districts are at or near the $1.50 per $100 valuation limit. The court has given the Legislature until June 1 to fix the system.

"I am anxious to help solve this complicated issue. The Supreme Court has given the governor and Legislature the guidance we need to help get Texas back on the right track in the way we finance our public schools. I assume the governor will call the Legislature back into special session this spring to meet the June 1 deadline. I'm ready to go to Austin whenever the governor calls. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work," Estes said.

While the Supreme Court ruled against Texas' method of generating the tax dollars used to finance public education, Estes said he was pleased that the court found that overall school funding is adequate and that poor districts have equal access to facilities funding.

"Throughout all of the recent regular sessions and special sessions, I have maintained three priorities in addressing education and taxes: local property taxes must be lowered, equity in funding must be maintained for all public schools, and more money must be directed toward the classroom," Estes said.

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