Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas, Cutting Our Nose Off to Spite Our Face?

Right now the Texas Legislature is contemplating numerous bills to cut the budget.  The Legislature is considering drastic cuts to Higher Education, K through 12 Education, Medicaid and the Criminal Justice/Prison System, and not even considering raising taxes.  Well who wants to pay more taxes, we pay so much now, right?

Well, According to the Tax Foundation, Texas ranked 43rd with an 8.4% tax rate in State-Local tax burdens in 2008. The tax rate has gone up a whopping 0.3% since 1977. 

Now I'm not saying that I'm dying to pay more taxes, but I think we have to look at our budget problems in a balanced way.  There certainly are some cuts that need to be made to make education more efficient, but cutting Higher and K through 12 Education to the bone is not good for the Texas Economy, our STRONG POINT.  According to Joel Kotkin of New Geography

Migration patterns are also changing among college-educated workers. Between 2005 and 2007, Texas, Virginia and North Carolina already enjoy higher rates per capita of net migration of educated workers between the ages of 22 and 39 than California, New York or Massachusetts.

This advantage could expand as the upcoming states increase their educational offerings along with employment opportunities. Students may end up tempted to attend schools closer to where there is job growth. Unlike Austin and Raleigh-Durham, which have rapidly expanded tech employment, Silicon Valley has produced virtually no new net tech jobs for the past decade.

The second impact may  be more subtle, as declining revenues from businesses and individuals reduces the opportunity to boost education spending. As the country stumbles into this recovery, the greatest advantage will fall not only to states with the most natural resources, but those with the best-educated human resources. For a half century this is a game that states like California have played to perfection, but it is one in which other places are likely to catch up, and perhaps even pass. The long-term implications for the nation’s economic geography could prove profound.
Do we want to lose the advantages Texas has over other states by striping our Education system?  

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