Thursday, July 13, 2017

#TXLEGE: Patrick's Press Conference


"These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;"
Zechariah 8:16

[Note: The Trib's facebook page was the only place we were able to find the video in an embedable format; following some introductory commentary from one of their reporters, the Lt. Gov's remarks start at the 15:00 minute mark of the video.]

Lt. Gov. Patrick held a press conference this afternoon to discuss the special session and unveil the Senate's school finance plan:



Highlights:

  • "I support all 20 bills that the Governor has put on the call for the special session that begins next week.  I've got my 20 for 20 pin on...I've noticed a lot of House members wearing it as well.  We've already passed 10 of those out of the Senate; they were killed by the speaker and that's why they're back on the call."
  • "During the [regular] session we passed 30 of 30 of our priority bills and I intend to pass 20 of 20 of the Governor's priorities."
    • "Clearly, the people support this legislation."
  • "The Senate will hit the ground running next week, and as always we will be efficient and get the work done."
  • "I believe the House can pass 20 for 20 as well...if they ever get a chance to vote for them on the floor."
  • "A bold and serious plan to increase teacher pay."
  • "Teachers are the most important part of a child's education; we must make every effort to compensate them for the work that they do."
  • "Laying out a plan to end recapture."
    • aka. Robin Hood.
  • "This is a serious plan, which is different from what the speaker laid out during the regular session and continues to talk about; THAT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN AN EDUCATION PONZI SCHEME."
    • Note: OUCH!!!
  • "The speaker's school finance plan took $1.5 BILLION from the foundation schools plan; it would have delayed paying school districts one month to give them the same money."
  • "There was no funding in the speaker's finance plan; it was a ponzi scheme."
  • Straus' regular session education funding shell game "was a dangerous political stunt."
  • Property tax reform "needs to pass."
  • "Where do you get billions more for education?!?  The only way to do it is a state income tax."
  • "I will not join the speaker in laying the groundwork for a state income tax."
  • "Let's stop talking about billions of dollars coming out of nowhere."
  • "Just throwing billions at [education] won't make a difference, and I'm offended to see anyone try to use public education as a political tool and a political stunt, promising to throw billions at it without a plan and not telling people where the money's coming from."
  • "We spend 52% of all the money we have [in the state budget] on education."
    • K-12 = 38%
  • "There is no more money, Mr. Speaker."
    • "We're not hiding $1.5 billion under the Sam Houston mattress in the Governor's mansion."
  • "At the local level, and at the state level, [education] is our priority."
  • "Every agency always wants more, but we are not underfunding education, it's over half of our budget."
  • Since 2000, education spending up 108% while enrollment is only up 32%
    • "Teacher pay has only gone up 35%."
  • "Where's all the money going?!?"
  • "Teachers are the key.  Buildings don't educate students.  Expensive stadiums don't help teachers to help kids to read or solve math problems."
  • We spend $163k per classroom on average while teachers get 52k.
  • Less than 32% of the education budget goes to teachers.
  • If you redirected 5% of the money that's going into the bureaucracy you could give teachers an $8000 raise.
  • Longevity bonuses for teachers coming from the state.
  • Retired teachers with 20 years + experience will get $600/month longevity bonus.
  • $200 million for TRS.
  • How do you pay for this?!?
    • We need to direct that money.
    • In the short term, make a deferral from a managed care fund.
    • In the long term, pass a constitutional amendment to dedicate funding for teachers from the lottery funding that's already dedicated to education.
      • "We're just directing the money to teachers, because [school districts] aren't."
  • Robin Hood: Never more than $1.5 billion per budget cycle.
    • 1% in savings across the state budget can cover the Robin Hood payments.
  • Nelson and Larry Taylor carrying the bills.

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