Bathroom Debate Distracts From Real Fight Facing Rural Texas
We already have strong laws in Texas against sexual predators
by Byron Cook on July 26, 2017 at 9:21 AM
Please don't be distracted by the current "bathroom" debate in Austin.
The more serious battle brewing in the Texas legislature's special session is between rural and urban Texas.
As the special session continues to unfold, I am disappointed that our great state is continuing to waste so much time over the "bathroom" debate. Especially since all the attention on this issue is smoke-screening a very serious threat facing rural Texas families, rural public schools, and even the economic survival of our state's rural communities.
- Urban special interest groups want to take money away from our rural public schools to fund private school vouchers. While this might be a preferred option for some of the state's under-performing inner city school districts (like Houston, Dallas or San Antonio) it would cripple funding for our rural public school districts.
- Also, urban special interests want to pass a disingenuous property tax reform bill (being touted by a State Senator from Houston). This proposal which targets local governments will neither lower our property tax bills; nor does it truly address the real cause of our state's escalating high property tax crisis — that being our state budget has been decreasing its portion of funding for public education while shifting this cost to local property taxpayers. As school property taxes are between 50% to 60% of a property owner's property tax bill, a more honest effort to reduce property taxes must begin by having the state address its own funding responsibilities of public education (ie, school finance reform) rather than using our local city and county governments as scapegoats. Additionally, if this proposal passes, it will be most punitive on rural property taxpayers as we are less populated and have smaller economies of scale compared to our urban and suburban neighbors.
With this said, please rest assured I am committed to fighting for our rural communities and will not support legislation in this special session that only benefits the urban areas of Texas at the expense of our rural families.
As for my position on the "bathroom" bill, I support legislation that limits admittance (based on gender at birth) to multi-stall bathrooms and locker rooms in our schools and requires local schools districts to develop single-stall bathroom policies for its transgender students. Beyond clarifying this policy for our public schools, we already have strong laws in Texas against sexual predators. Therefore, I do not condone duplicitous grandstanding on this issue and/or discriminatory legislation; nor do I support laws that will adversely affect our state's economy.