Carl Parker's archive

Bill Hobby, a former Texas lieutenant governor, was often quoted as saying any impending legislative session would be about the allocation of money or appropriation of tax dollars. All else, said Hobby, was poetry.

I’m not sure it was poetry, but anything other than the allocation of money fades into obscurity during any legislative session. Always the last and most important focus of any session is the passage of the appropriations bill and adjustments for differences therein between the House and Senate.

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When questioned about state funding of education, I have often said the cost of ignorance is far greater than the cost of educating young people in Texas. One only has to compare our prison system to our schools. We pay as much as $40,000 a year to incarcerate a young person and $8,746 per year to teach one. Even so, our legislature seems intent on continuing to squeeze both public and higher education. The cost of Texas being without an adequately prepared workforce in the next generation will be a tremendously high, the price paid for doing nothing.

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Bill Hammond, the president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business, issued a prediction this week. By 2040, if current trends continue in Texas, one-third of Texas adults would not have a high school diploma, Hammonds said. His concern strikes me as being very similar to the little boy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy before the judge on the grounds he was now an orphan.

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