DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After Amazon announced it won’t build its new headquarters in Dallas, there are renewed calls for Texas to spend more money on education with the goal of creating a larger, home-grown high-tech workforce.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, whose job it is to tell state lawmakers how much money they can spend during the upcoming legislative session, said Wednesday he’s optimistic the good news will continue. “The reality is the next budget cycle seems as though it’ll be healthier than it has been in the past.”
Because of the booming Texas economy, Hegar said the state is bringing in more money from sales taxes (up 10 percent from two years ago) and oil and natural gas severance taxes (up 61 percent & 46 percent respectively from two years ago) to name a few.
He said unless the economy cools, lawmakers would have more money to spend for the 2020-2021 budget.
He addressed business leaders during a Fort Worth Chamber luncheon.
State leaders have said their top two priorities during the next legislative session starting January 8th are changing the way the state funds its schools and property tax reform.
One major issue has been the state hasn’t spent as much of its own money on schools and has relied more on property taxes as home values rise.
Hegar said, “The point I want to show the legislature is even if you rebalance it, in ten years it’s going to go down again. So you’ve got to fix, how do you ensure that every year, the pendulum, the see-saw, is not continually going down.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is urging state lawmakers to spend more money on the state’s K-12 public schools and colleges and universities.
The Vice President of Research at UT Arlington, Duane Dimos, said even though Amazon isn’t coming here, there are still plenty of businesses already here who need people with high tech and business skills. “As we look to the kind of jobs we want to be able to attract,
having very well-educated people starting at public school, working up through universities and in many cases advanced degrees, this is going to be essential for the kind of growth we want to be able to bring to Texas.”