Tuesday, November 1, 2016

From the Texas Tribune: Abbott, Patrick disagree on special session for school funding

School funding promises to be a dominant issue during the next regular session. A special session would take some pressure off.

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Days after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested that Gov. Greg Abbott call a 30-day special session to overhaul the state's school funding system, Abbott said Monday that no such special session was needed.
Patrick told the Midland Reporter-Telegram last week that there is not enough time during next year's 140-day regular session to discuss overhauling the controversial “Robin Hood” school funding system, which redistributes money from property-rich school districts to property-poor districts. Patrick has since said that he was "not advocating for a special session."
“If the governor is willing, I am willing to address it in a special session,” Patrick told the newspaper.
But Abbott made clear Monday that he is not willing. His office issued a statement saying the matter should be thoroughly discussed in regular session -- not a separate special session.
“Governor Abbott believes Texans deserve for issues—including fixing a broken Robin Hood system—to be thoroughly debated and addressed in a regular session where responsible and hardworking legislators have plenty of time to address these serious topics. Texans don’t want a full-time legislature, they want a legislature that can get their work done and then go home,” spokesman John Wittman wrote in a statement.
"No reason to put off to tomorrow what we can do today," Abbott added on Twitter.
Later Monday, Patrick's office issued a statement saying he was not pushing for a special session. A Patrick spokesman said the statement was similar to remarks the lieutenant governor made Monday afternoon while discussing school finance at an event in Houston.

"Reforming school finance is a very complex, multibillion-dollar issue that is a high priority for me and for many lawmakers," Patrick said in the statement. "I am not advocating for a special session. I am simply saying that at some point, if we are truly serious about dealing with this issue, I believe that is what it will take."

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