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Comptroller Calls for More Public Ed Funding, Covering Inflation Costs

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar recommended in a new report that the state begin the debate on increasing public education funding by starting the state off at its historical average funding level, 40 percent (with local funding covering the remaining 60 percent of the cost).

Though that doesn’t appear to be a large funding increase, lawmakers might take solace in Hegar’s suggestion that the state’s share should remain at 40 percent, no matter how much property tax revenues increase. “That would mark a new way of doing things; under the current system, the state can spend less if—because of rising property tax revenue—the local districts are bringing in more money. Hegar’s idea wouldn’t let the state slide below 40 percent of the total, no matter what,” according to a new Texas Tribune article.

Hegar’s proposal would also automatically adjust state funding for inflation, something school funding formulas don’t currently do. “…Adding inflation to the state’s responsibilities would take a lot of financial pressure off of local taxpayers—at the state’s expense,” the article says.

The ratio that Hegar suggests “…would require the state to put up $5 billion more, and that’s before any accounting for inflation, school population increases and fast growth…”

“If the state can come up with a system to keep state share at 40 percent, that’ll help keep local spending and taxes in line,” Hegar said.

Read “Analysis: The Texas comptroller’s new “pesky chart” by Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune.

January 31, 2019