Before considering and answering this question, read pp. 452-458 in your textboo

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Before considering and answering this question, read pp. 452-458 in your textbook (436-442 in the 5th edition).
Some of the most contentious debates in Texas politics involve the subject of education, particularly questions concerning (1) how to best fund our public school system, and (2) how to deal with the issues raised by the “funding gap”- the tendency, exacerbated by Texas’s increased reliance upon local-level funding via property taxes to finance schools, for greater funds to be available to support the education of students from wealthier districts vs. that of students from poorer ones.
There have been various efforts to deal with the problems raised by the inequality in the funding available to various school districts since the Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby case helped to bring attention to the issue. However, determining the best way to both adequately fund Texas public schools and to do so in as equitable a manner as possible has remained a difficult problem to solve. The Texas legislature’s “Robin Hood” plan has long been considered to be an imperfect fix, and its more recent expansion of a business tax alongside a cut in property taxes has proved inadequate in making up the shortfall in needed education funding.
There are a variety of options available to Texas towards working to relieve this shortfall in education funding while also attempting to ensure equity in per pupil student funding, but, as tends to be the case in these situations, there does not appear to be any obvious, noncontroversial solution. Texas prides itself in being a low-tax, limited-service state, so any increase in taxes, even towards the funding of education (an area whose funding tends to be met with less resistance than the funding of many other services) would present political difficulties. Cutting funding for other services in order to increase spending on education while attempting to avoid any increase in taxes raises the various questions involved in attempting to assess the trade-offs in reducing funding for one area of the government while increasing it for another.
At the same time, the various means for providing additional revenue all come with their own controversies. The shift away from state-level funding for education towards local-level, property tax-based funding was partly responsible for the exacerbation in inequality, in terms of the funding received per district. Reliance upon sales taxes to fund education would lessen the per-district inequality inherent in a property tax-based system, but Texas already has some of the highest sales taxes in the nation. Institution of a state income tax would provide a less regressive means than sales taxes towards bringing in needed revenue, but strong opposition from the wealthy and the business community has generally made the idea a no-go in the Texas legislative realm. Alternative means of raising revenue such as lotteries and increased excise taxes (generally, “sin” taxes, such as those on alcohol and cigarettes) can bring in additional revenue, but can generally only go so far. (For additional information on the various types of taxes, review the discussion on pp. 393-402 of your text (pp. 407-415 in the 5th edition).)
What do you think? Is increasing funding for public education in Texas an important enough matter to deserve priority, even if this means cutting spending in other areas or raising taxes in one form or another? If so, what trade-offs would you make in terms of spending and taxation priorities? How would you deal with the complex question of attempting to ensure equity or near-equity in per-student public education funding in our state? Feel free to be as creative as possible in considering this issue and formulating potential solutions to these complex questions.

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