- Because of cuts in public education funding, Texas school districts may have to lay off as many as 100,000 teachers next fall.
- Because our leaders believe we’d just rather not think about it, we haven’t raised gasoline taxes in more than 20 years. As a result (and because we’ve already borrowed $10 billion that will cost us about $20 billion to repay), there will be no money for new roads by 2012.
- Medicaid funding could be cut by as much as 25 percent and the number of children on the CHIPS program nearly halved. Of course, these poor people will still be able to get medical care — at the emergency room (which is the most expensive medical care available).
- Despite many state legislators having run on a “law and order” platform, we’ll be looking for reasons to let hardened criminals out of jail early because we simply can’t afford to keep them locked up. Besides, we’ll need the room to house the mentally ill since we’ll be closing the rest of the state-run mental hospitals.
But, by gosh, we’ve already put a crimp in all that fraudulent voting and an end to sanctuary cities, yes we did!
My smart mouth aside, all Texans should be profoundly worried about these issues. Besides being incredibly short-sighted, the first two issues will have a negative effect on the unemployment picture in the state.
Those are a lot of teachers who will need to find jobs. 100,000. Some of the larger school districts might be able to absorb some of their layoffs through attrition but places like Cameron and Rockdale won’t. Can anyone say, “12 percent state unemployment?”
Further, a 25 percent reduction in state aid could cause many small communities (communities like Buckholts and Milano and Gause and Thrall) to simply lose their schools. They just won’t have a choice. We curtailed what a district can levy in taxes, so schools can’t go back to local tax payers for the difference any more. I guess that makes Tea Party Republicans happy, though. No new taxes.
That second item is no laughing matter either. Remember all the road work around here over the last decade or so? Well, say goodbye to any more of that work — and all the jobs that kind of work brings. Heavy civil construction work like highways and bridges employs an awful lot of people and pays a danged good wage.
No new taxes = no new roads … and precious little road maintenance.
Tea Party Republicans are now in a position to govern this state. Governing means talking not about the size of government, but about the actual things government does: schools, prisons, roads, health care, the justice system.
Since we already spend far less on these things (well, except for prisons) than most any other state in the Union, they’re talking about Voter ID and sanctuary cities.
- Chron.com: 170 HISD educators’ jobs on the line (chron.com)
- Texas Cutting $5 Billion From Public Schools (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Texas Tribune: Budget Crisis May Cause Teachers to Lose Jobs, but Some Are Safe With Tenure (nytimes.com)
- Public education in Texas faces massive cuts (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Texas lawmakers warned to put education first (chron.com)
- Texas on the way to highway crisis (mysanantonio.com)