Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Senators debate adding tax cuts to road-funding bill

The sudden buy-in from Abbott is significant, and stands apart from other Republican governors who have kept distance from similar proposals or outright rejected them over the past year. It passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday and goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, a group that's fought HB 2899 and its stringent Texas Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 6, told the committee about the threats he feels bathroom legislation poses to the businesses he represents. But as their kids get older, options become more limited and they are often excluded as they age out of Little League and their peers move on to public-school teams. Committee members, as they often do after a first public hearing, left the bill pending.

The Texas House is considering a bill that's different than one that sparked outcry when it cleared the state Senate last month.

Huberty applauded the lower chamber for considering the legislation even though it didn't have to - since the Supreme Court ruled the system constitutional but barely past year.

Doing so could cause tens of thousands of additional students to miss the mark, and increase the number of schools that receive poor grades on school report cards, according to opponents.

Over 11 years, state support will have increased by just $1.3 billion, while local contributions from property tax will have swelled to $30.2 billion, from $18.2 billion in 2008, Huberty stressed.

Huberty's bill would let the program expire and create a transitional $200 grant program over the next two years to help school districts that lose money under his bill.

"I think the fact that he did pull the bill sent a huge message to all of us that we needed to do something different this time", he said. Parents and educators who testified wanted a few new provisions added in.

Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, strikes his gavel during debates in the House, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Austin, Texas, where debate over school finance is set to begin.

The bill should pass Wednesday night, after lawmakers work their way through a parade of small changes that don't have the votes to pass — many backed by Democrats who have called for an even larger dose of extra school funding.

R Street is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization whose mission is to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

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