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Monday, June 06, 2005

 

AAS: Kay, Carole chide Rick - June 6

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The Austin American Statesman this afternoon ran an article saying both Senator Hutchison and Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn criticized the lack of a school funding bill from the legislature this session under Gov. Rick Perry's leadership:

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Monday, June 06, 2005

In remarks sure to stir the political pot, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison today said Gov. Rick Perry should call lawmakers into a special session to finish work on school finance, ensuring teachers a pay raise starting in September.

A spokeswoman for Perry said he's pleased she shares disappointment in lawmakers for failing to complete measures on school finance and taxes within the 140-day regular session that ended May 30. Perry continues to hope for common ground between the House and Senate that would justify a 30-day special session, Kathy Walt said.

Hutchison told reporters: "It's time that we have that session to do what's right. I don't think our teachers should start in the fall not having the pay raise that was intended for them to have. It is my hope that this is not over."

Hutchison added, "I am disappointed like everyone that school finance and especially relief for the property taxpayers of our state were not addressed . . .

"I think we need leadership to be shown now more than ever to do what is right for our state. Texas is the greatest state in America and I want us to be the example of how to do things right . . . And that's my goal and I hope that is what is shown by all of our elected leaders in the future."

Hutchison left open the possibility of her challenging Perry for governor next year, saying she's in the "home stretch of making the decision of what's right for Texas."

The Republican senator spoke after speaking at the swearing-in of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Owen recently won Senate confirmation to the post to which President Bush originally nominated her four years ago.

Hutchison sat to Owen's right in a chair facing a crowd of current and former jurists at the Texas Supreme Court during the 28-minute ceremony in the Supreme Court building.

Perry, who sat on the other side of Owen, thanked Hutchison in his remarks for her "steadfast work" advancing the nomination. He didn't speak to reporters afterward.

"The governor has said all along that this (school finance) is an issue that should be addressed by the Legislature and not the courts," Walt said.

The Texas Supreme Court is slated to hear the state's appeal of a district judge's ruling that schools are severely under-funded on July 6.

State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn had been penciled in as a guest for Owen's swearing-in, but canceled to oversee her agency's review of a spending measure that needs her certification, her office said.

Reached by telephone, Strayhorn stressed that she urged a $3,000 across-the-board raise for teachers late last year plus a provision that their pay be adjusted by the state automatically every two years.

"There's a shortfall in the governor's leadership," Strayhorn said. "I will have plenty to say on that later. Today I'm running numbers."

wgselby@statesman.com; 445-3644

Source: Austin American Statesman.


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