Letters to the Editor: Make Smart Investments in Children and Water

fwst_rFriday, May. 03, 2013 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

House Democrats support smart investments in water infrastructure, which is why every Democratic member of the House voted for House Bill 4, the landmark measure that establishes the funding mechanism to support the state water plan. We face many challenges in Texas, and water is one of them. However, our children should be our No. 1 priority.

That’s why House Democrats believe Texas should first restore the $5.4 billion cut from public education before spending money from the rainy-day fund for other issues. And because a drawdown from the rainy-day fund requires the support of two-thirds of the House, the minority party has more leverage than usual — and we intend to use that leverage to help our schoolchildren.

Texas is 49th in the nation in education funding, spending $3,000 less per student than the national average.

Texas schools are still feeling the impact of the budget cuts: larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, cuts to pre-kindergarten funding, fewer tutoring opportunities to help students pass state tests, cuts in teacher training for science. And the list goes on.

It’s projected that we will have nearly $11.8 billion in the rainy-day fund at the end of the next biennium.

That is more than enough to fulfill our constitutional obligation to give the children in this state the best education possible and provide the funding to kick-start many of the projects outlined in our state water plan.

There is still time to get this right, and there is no reason we can’t make smart investments in our children, as well as water infrastructure — both of which are vital to our state’s future.

— State Rep. Lon Burnam,
District 90

— State Rep. Chris Turner,
District 101