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Texas 2012: The School Finance Lawsuits and the General Election


by: Michael Hurta

Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:00 AM CDT


On Saturday, as we chose delegates to the State Democratic Convention in Houston, the general election officially began.

We may not have our nominees, but last week we got our campaign issue ironed out for good: Campaign finance is certain to be on the minds of voters as they go to the polls for the November elections.

District Judge John Dietz set October 22 as the trial start for the major school finance lawsuits. October 22 is also the first day of in-person Early Voting.

The real issue with timing is for the Texas Legislature to get guidance from the court system (including a possible appeal ruling or two) in time for action during the 2013 Legislative Session. Judge Dietz has implied with this schedule that he hopes to give an initial ruling before Christmas.

But the start will occur during the heat of Election Season, and Republicans across the state are probably already planning to defend their bad budget. True, the first BOR PAC poll showed that Texans would not have liked higher taxes for their schools (at least not yet, as the severity of the cuts only begin to show). But we, as Texans, still support Rainy Day Fund use.

We can already see the posturing. Rick Perry, not on the ballot in 2012, proposed a hardcore conservative Texas Budget Compact. The idea would certainly make navigation out of the School Finance debacle even more impossible. And that's why Republicans' lead legislators aren't buying it.

Republicans will try every trick to avoid blame. As the legal battle formally begins on October 22, however, let's be sure that voters remember who started it.  

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