E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte
"With a special session commencing on April 17, I would like to take this opportunity to update my constituents on the important issue of public school finance.
The session is being called in response to the Texas Supreme Court's finding that the school property tax system has developed into a state-wide property tax, which is strictly prohibited by the Texas Constitution. The court gave the Legislature a June 1 deadline to repair the finance system used to pay for schools.
I am aware that Texans are becoming increasingly impatient with the Legislature's failure to successfully address the public school issue. I share this frustration, but I will not settle for mediocre solutions. Any legislation that I consider voting for must offer a legitimate solution to school finance, with a long-term, stable source of revenue. Although the June 1 deadline looms I will continue to put excellence in schools over expediency. Texas families expect and deserve more. I will work with our local teachers, administrators, school board members and parents during our legislative deliberations to ensure we create a successful plan.
My pledge to you is to work towards a plan that will offer Texas schools equalized funding, because the quality of a child's education in Texas should not be determined by where that child lives. I will also work towards a plan that provides Texas schools the ability to retain well-qualified teachers. Texas teachers salaries rank 30th among the nation and yet they educate and encourage the development of our most valuable resources - our children. Finally, I will work towards a plan that provides a stable revenue source for funding the needs of all Texas school children.
The work of John Sharp and the Texas Tax Reform Commission provides us with a strong starting point in the restructuring of the Texas tax system because it offers a broad-based, low-rate fair system for Texas businesses. However, this is just a beginning as we must not only provide adequate state funding to lower local property tax rates but take back the responsibility of providing adequate funding to our Texas schools so that they can provide our children with an excellent education.
I look forward to working with my fellow legislators in restructuring our tax system to one that is stable and fair to our taxpayers as well as provides much needed funding for our growing public school system. As your state senator I can assure you that in creating this plan I will remain true to my pledge to you that the system I support will provide more for our children than the legal and constitutional minimum."