Letter to the Editor-Chuck Witt

On June 13, Mr. Joe Humphrey, a retired teacher, gave us some “facts” about financial expenditures on public education. He also gave us his “opinion” about our state legislators. Let’s examine the other side of the coin.

First, some other facts:

1. According to the federal government’s National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the USA spends more money for each student educated than any other country in the G20 group of industrialized nations.

2. According to the NCES, teachers in the USA are the second highest paid.

3. According to the NCES, academic performance of students in the USA consistently ranks below countries such as Australia, England, Russia, Japan, Korea, Canada and France.

4. According to the NCES, approximately 91 percent of the money spent on education goes to salaries, benefits and other services such as teacher professional development.

Do I think teachers are overpaid? Of course not; they are great people doing the best they can with their situation. Do I think throwing more money at the public education system will make it better? Of course not; the solution is eliminating mandates, concentrating on core studies and returning control to the local community.

Mr. Humphrey said the state budget is based on a 6.8 percent increase in property tax but the Governor wants to cap the tax increase to 5 percent. Actually, the “cap” is not a cap at all. It is merely a trigger point at which any tax increase greater than 5 percent must be approved by local voters. Now, that’s a novel approach isn’t it? Let’s let the taxpayers decide if they need a large tax increase. Surely Mr. Humphrey could agree with that since he addressed his letter to the taxpayers.

The idea that somehow a tax dollar which passes through Austin or Washington is better than a local tax dollar is classic Liberal/Progressive (LP) logic. In truth, the only reason it is any different is that you have less control over it. The LPs will try to convince you the Austin/Washington tax dollar is free whereas the local tax dollar cost you money. As I see it, a tax dollar which goes to Austin then returns cost us just as much as a dollar collected in Rains County.

Mr. Humphrey called out Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick and Senator Bob Hall for “smoke and mirror” tactics. He said that Senator Hall should “reach across the aisle” to represent those who voted for him. I submit to Mr. Humphrey that Senator Hall is representing those who voted for him. I feel confident that those “across the aisle” did not vote for Senator Hall. The only smoke and mirror tactic is that which tries to convince us that Austin money is free.

Like Mr. Humphrey, I encourage you to contact your representatives. Tell them we want “Property Tax Relief.”

Chuck Witt

P.O. Box 632

Emory, TX

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