Falsely Accused

On Sunday, I wrote rather harshly of Sen. Jamie Woodson’s sponsorship of a bill that would abolish the BEP Review Committee. I also e-mailed Sen. Woodson, and yesterday received her response (which I will post in its entirety if she gives me permission to do so).

It seems that I falsely accused her of filing this bill because she didn’t like the outcome of the BEP Review Committee’s recommendations this year. However, she informed me that she sponsored the bill in the Senate at the request of Rep. Winningham, her counterpart (Chair of the Education Committee) in the state’s lower house. Apparently, it is common practice for the chairs of respective committees to sponsor each other’s legislation in the other house.

I admit that I didn’t know that. Naively perhaps, I thought that one only sponsored bills that one actually supports.

Sen. Woodson said that the bill will open a legislative conversation about whether the current method of advisement on education funding is the right one, and I agree that that is a conversation that might be useful. What I do not know — and do not want to speculate on at this point — is whether she feels that TACIR (specifically, Harry Green, the executive director of that body) is sufficiently unbiased to develop a new formula on system-level fiscal capacity.

I do agree that a system-level model would be more accurate in determining the fiscal capacity of local governments with school districts. However, I also recognize that local governments compete for growth on the basis of local tax rates, and that my city is in a disadvantage in that regard because of the money we put into education. For the State to make up the difference in those communities (ahem, Knox County) that could tax themselves at a higher rate but choose not to, is equally wrong.

I do hope to continue this discussion, as I believe that the answers can be found.

3 thoughts on “Falsely Accused

  1. Pingback: Blue Collar Republican » Blog Archive » Blog Burst February 15, 2007

  2. Not having read the legislation, let me ask about a clarification. As I understand it, the BEP first calculates the ability of a jurisdiction to pay its matching share of the programs and then divies up the state pot based on that. Why not just reverse the process? Let the state define the programs and then calculate a jurisdiction’s ability to raise its matching share, announcing each jurisdiction’s matched state funding and its unclaimed state funding which is then reallocated. That would shift the attention from the alledged biased BEP to the lack of local matching funds generation.

    As I remember as a kid in Florida, the process worked that way and it didn’t take long for taxpayers to ante up for the free money that had previously been unclaimed.

  3. Pingback: Citizen Netmom » So Wrong it’s Funny

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