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It’s a start

Credit where it’s due, from a story about the Lobby Day effort by teachers and other public school supporters.

New member Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, reminds folks that the current budget shortfall reflects a structural deficit that began in 2006 when lawmakers cut school property taxes without raising enough money to pay for the swap.

“We see it as tantamount to an inferno going on,” he said, “and they’re giving us a garden hose with no water pressure to put it out.”

The freshman lawmaker favors using half of the rainy day fund and giving school districts more flexibility to absorb cuts more efficiently. He also favors a special session next year if state revenue picks up at least 5 percent ahead of projections. If that happens, state leaders could increase spending on education and critical health and human services.

“I understand this will have consequences for decades to come, if we don’t make the right decisions,” Larson said.

I give Rep. Larson credit for recognizing the problem, which I daresay puts him in a small minority among House freshmen, and his analogy is quite apt. It would be nice to see him call on the House Republican leadership to fix this problem they caused so we’re not right back where we started next session, though it probably wouldn’t make any difference anyway. At least he’s pointing in the right direction, and Lord knows we could use more of that.

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