Perry: Special session likely to deal only with tax system, not education
Clay Robison in the Houston Chronicle:
Gov. Rick Perry wants the Legislature, in a special session this spring, to cut school property taxes by about one-third but postpone action on other education changes until next year, a legislator who met with the governor said Monday.I'm pretty sure it was always the governor's intention to just deal with the tax system; that was my impression anyway.
"The governor was saying we're not going to do any (school) reforms this session," [state Sen. Jeff] Wentworth said, despite calls by House Speaker Tom Craddick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for changes in how education dollars are spent.
Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt on Monday confirmed the governor's meeting with the San Antonio legislators but declined to say what specifically was discussed.
"The governor has indicated that his primary interest and focus right now will be on addressing the Supreme Court ruling," Walt said.
She said other items could be added to the agenda after the finance changes are addressed. The governor sets the agenda for a special session, which can last as long as 30 days.
UPDATE: Dewhurst feels differently. Perry, of course, is the one who decides what to include on the agenda for any special sessions:
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told the Texas Association of Business this afternoon that he wants a call on the special session this spring that goes beyond the business tax.
Dewhurst said it was his take, after talking with senators, that no one is going to have the appetite to take on education again in the regular session once the special session is over. The special session will be the time, Dewhurst said, to tackle issues such as the college and workforce readiness of the state's high school graduates.
"We must focus on doing that which is necessary to improve the quality of education," Dewhurst said, stressing that a better-educated workforce is the key to economic development in the state. "We have got to improve academic performance."
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