Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More with Davis Rankin and Aaron Pena

State Representative Aaron Peña stopped by the KURV studios in Edinburg to talk with Davis Rankin about some of the battles going on in Austin over school finance reform. As you may be aware, some bills have passed out of the House of Reps and is on the way to the conference committee where it will be changed from its current incarnation.

The battle is far from over. There are multiple nuances, according to Peña, beyond the Sharp-Perry plan. Over the last two days, an uprising has come out of the Houston area by radio show host Dan Patrick, who is also headed for the Texas Senate. He is one of the conservative Republicans opposed to raising taxes. Suffice it to say that negotiations are still going on. There are also struggles within the Democratic Part in Texas, with 3 different groups trying to steer the party in different directions. So, there is more going on in Austin than just the debates over school finance, there are battles going on within the parties. The more meaningful split is within the Republican party. This, of course, benefits the RGV because it puts backers of the legislation in a position where they need Democrat votes. So, Rep. Peña is amongst the deciders.

For the moment, the Perry-Sharp plan is the only choice Republicans have and find themselves having to go along with it, except that raising taxes while having a surplus is rubbing the conservatives the wrong way. The Senate is a little liberal, so when the legislation comes out of committee, some more conservatives are expected to peel off from the group of supporters. It is almost certain that the Perry-Sharp plan will pass after committee with a little arm-twisting.
When the Bill gets to the Senate, it will pass a little quicker. They already know what they want to do.

Other tidbits of information are that The Rep is hearing a lot of concern about immigration and taxes from other districts. There are those who want to tax illegal immigrants through sales taxes. More significant along the immigration front, is that people are concerned that the state and our way of life is changing as a result of immigration. These aren't The Rep's opinions, just things he's hearing in Austin.

That's all I gathered from the conversation between Davis Rankin and Aaron Peña on today's show.
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