Texas House, Senate pass school finance bill mandating teacher raises and cutting taxes

first_img Twitter Local NewsState Pinterest Facebook WhatsApp Pinterest Previous article051619_Reagan_recycling_JF_08Next articleMATTER OF RECORD: May 10 through May 17 Digital AIM Web Support Days after top Republican leaders announced they had a deal on a school finance bill long in the making, the Texas House and Senate on Saturday approved the final legislation, bringing mandated teacher pay raises and property tax cuts one step closer to becoming law. The Texas House voted 139-0 and the Senate voted 30-0 to approve the final negotiated version of House Bill 3, which includes $6.5 billion to improve public education and pay teachers, plus $5.1 billion to lower school district taxes. Authored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and sponsored by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the bill is now poised to head to Gov. Greg Abbott for a signature. “In my inaugural address I said that this will be the session we enact historical school finance reform by putting more money into the classroom, paying our teachers more, reducing recapture and cutting property taxes,” Abbott said in a statement after the bill passed both chambers. “Tonight, without a court order, the legislature did just that by passing one of the most transformative educational bills in recent Texas history.” HB 3 passed the House first. “We are truly transforming public school finance in Texas and all of you have been a large part of that,” Huberty said, before calling for a vote. Afterward, he and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, along with a few other lawmakers, walked across the hall to watch the upper chamber do the same. But a few lawmakers from both parties in both chambers raised concerns that the state would not be able to afford the cost of the changes long term. Before voting for the bill, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, called for a “sustainable path that will support increasing the cost of this bill for schools,” especially as more students continue to enroll in public schools. “I think we’re spending far more on it than what we should,” said state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood. Despite facing repeated lawsuits alleging the state hasn’t adequately funded public schools, lawmakers, including Huberty and Taylor, failed to make changes during the last legislative session in 2017 — a reform bill became mired in political controversy between the Senate and the House. Instead, they created a school finance panel of lawmakers, educators, and businesspeople that ultimately developed dozens of recommendations to overhaul the system. Many of those recommendations appear in the version of HB 3 that lawmakers voted out Saturday, including funding full-day pre-K for eligible 4-year-olds, increasing the money used to educate low-income students, incentivizing school districts to offer dual language programs and improve dyslexia programs, and providing money for school districts that want to develop their own merit pay programs for teachers. The panel did not recommend giving classroom teachers across-the-board raises. But after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick began the session announcing a plan to give $5,000 permanent raises to all full-time teachers, the proposal became one of the most talked-about in the Capitol and across the state. With the state’s average teacher salary below the national average, many teachers desperately wanted the $5,000 to deal with soaring health insurance premiums and other costs — though they asked for other school employees to receive more money as well. School administrators, on the other hand, asked for flexibility on how to use additional funding in their schools so they could address local priorities. Bonnen said he preferred to allow them that discretion. The final proposal would require school districts to use a portion of their increase in per-student funding on salary increases and benefits for teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors, with a smaller amount designated for raises for all employees, as administrators see fit. They are expected to prioritize raises and benefits for teachers with more than five years of experience, but otherwise would have flexibility on how to offer salary increases. HB 3 also includes several Senate proposals to help lower school district tax rates over the next two years and beyond. It would limit the growth in tax revenue: school districts with property values growing 2.5% or more would see tax rates automatically lowered to keep revenue growth in line. The bill also mandates a study on potential sources of money for future school district tax cuts and their anticipated impacts on taxpayers, schools and the state. Lawmakers estimate the bill would lower tax rates by an average of 8 cents per $100 valuation in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021. That would mean a tax cut of $200 for the owner of a $250,000 home in 2020 and $325 in 2021. The cost of the reforms is anticipated to jump in future years. The official cost analysis shows the changes will cost the state $13.5 billion in 2022 and 2023, a $2 billion increase from the upcoming biennium. “Many of you have asked how we’re going to pay for it as we go forward with tax compression,” Huberty said. He referenced a new fund the bill creates to pay for those tax cuts. The state comptroller is required to deposit some money from the Available School Fund — which provides money for schools derived from state-owned land and fuel taxes — and some money from an online sales tax into the new fund. But it is not clear whether the state’s plan to lower tax rates further in future years is sustainable, a point of concern for some lawmakers. Because the state is required to help school districts pay to educate students, limiting local tax revenue could force the state to reimburse them billions of dollars going forward. “It does not provide the reliable state revenue source that will be necessary to realize a truly transformational, long term school finance solution,” the Democrat-run Texas Legislative Study Group Caucus wrote in a recent analysis of HB 3. “For that reason, future legislatures may still have to address challenges if state revenue is not readily available.” Read related Tribune coverageTeacher raises and all-day pre-K: Here’s what’s in the Texas Legislature’s landmark school finance billTexas’ legislative leaders say they have a deal on school finance and property tax reformCan pay raises help rural Texas districts like Buffalo retain teachers? 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Promising Outlook for Banks after Fed Stress Test Announcement

first_img Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago CCAR Fed Federal Reserve Stress Test 2017-06-28 Joey Pizzolato Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Share Save Promising Outlook for Banks after Fed Stress Test Announcement The Federal Reserve announced the results of its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, or Stress Test, on Wednesday. Thirty-four bank holding companies took part in the stress test, which is now in its 7th year. The Stress test operates in two parts: the quantitative, and the qualitative, according to an official statement by the Fed. “When considering a firm’s capital plan, the Federal Reserve considers both quantitative and qualitative factors. Quantitative factors include a firm’s projected capital ratios under a hypothetical scenario of severe economic and financial market stress. Qualitative factors include the strength of the firm’s capital planning process, which incorporate risk management, internal controls, and governance practices that support the process.”Out of the 34 banks, 13 were subject to both the quantitative and the qualitative portion of the test, while the remaining 21 were rated only on quantitative factors. Out of the total test group, the Fed did not object to a single banks’ capital plan. One bank, however—Capital One Financial Corporation—will be required to resubmit its capital plan by the end of 2017, although they were still given a pass. The Fed found that U.S. firms’ common equity capital ratio has more than double, rising to 12.5 percent at the end of Q1 2017 from 5.5 percent in Q1 2009, a total increase of $750 billion to $1.25 trillion. As a result, most major banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust Banks, JPMorgan, American Express, and Discover Financial Services are raising their dividends. CitiBank doubled its dividends. After hours trading barely slowed down once the market closed—Fifth Third Bancorp showed a 3.10 percent increase, while SunTrust boasted a 2.51 percent increase and Discover’s percent change was at 2.38 percent. Read below to find a complete list of the banks that participated in the stress test:Ally Financial, Inc.; American Express Company; BancWest Corporation; Bank of America Corporation; The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; BB&T Corporation; BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc.; BMO Financial Corp.; Capital One Financial Corporation; CIT Group Inc.; Citigroup, Inc.; Citizens Financial Group; Comerica Incorporated; Deutsche Bank Trust Corporation; Discover Financial Services; Fifth Third Bancorp; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.; Huntington Bancshares, Inc.; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Keycorp; M&T Bank Corporation; Morgan Stanley; MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation; Northern Trust Corp.; The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; Regions Financial Corporation; Santander Holdings USA, Inc.; State Street Corporation; SunTrust Banks, Inc.; TD Group US Holdings LLC; U.S. Bancorp; Wells Fargo & Company; and Zions Bancorporation. Tagged with: CCAR Fed Federal Reserve Stress Test Joey Pizzolato is the Online Editor of DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Spalding University, where he holds a holds an MFA in Writing as well as DePaul University, where he received a B.A. in English. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of print and online journals and magazines. To contact Pizzolato, email [email protected] The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago About Author: Joey Pizzolato Previous: The Psychology Behind Why People Buy, And Where Next: Mortgage Applications Down, Shares Mostly Unchanged  Print This Post Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days agocenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News June 28, 2017 1,506 Views Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articles Sign up for DS News Daily The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Promising Outlook for Banks after Fed Stress Test Announcement Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Subscribelast_img read more