With one in 11 children in the United States calling Texas home, our state has a big role to play in the future of America. To ensure that our large and rapidly growing child population is prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges, we must invest in education. We need strong early childhood education, strong public schools, and strong colleges and universities to ensure a prosperous future.
Preparing for the future requires the political will to reform our antiquated revenue system now. To move forward, we must have a revenue system that is fair and adequate. Our revenue system, though, has always been unfair and is increasingly inadequate.
In fact, in a historically low-tax state, state and local taxes measured as a share of our total personal income has been falling. Over the last two decades, if state and local taxes had merely been held constant as a share of growing total personal income, the Legislature would have had tens of billions of dollars to invest in children.
Making matters worse, because of decisions made in 2006, Texas now begins every budget cycle roughly $10 billion short (what is often called the state’s structural deficit). Consequently, the Legislature has been forced to make cuts to education that have severely damaged our ability to prepare our kids for the future.