State Representative Ken King hosted a town hall meeting in Levelland Tuesday morning on the campus of South Plains College.
King began the event by discussing some bills that he has helped get passed on his previous 2 terms in office including private property rights, public education, bills to help small businesses and womens health.
He stressed that the upcoming legislative session will be different as the state will be dealing with a great decline in money after the recent decline in oil and gas. He pointed out that the state receives its funding primarily from Sales Tax dollars, then fines and fees followed by severance fees collected from oil and gas producers and finally through property taxes collected in the counties and sent to the state to fund public education. He noted that the state constitution says two things the legislature must do, balance budget and adequately fund public education. He noted in 2017 between public education funding and funding health and human services accounting for over 100% of the available money, cuts will have to be made, however, no one knows where those cuts will be. He did point out that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is intent on a school voucher system, King says he will “never support a voucher system for schools”, mainly because it would leave rural school districts out and students in rural areas would have no where to go to school. His goal is to make public education the best it can be.
King also discussed a proposed bill from a Senator out of the Houston area which would put a cap on property taxes collected by a county. King said he is against the bill noting that in essence it would force rural counties to increase property taxes every year just to meet inflation.
There was some discussion as well on community colleges in Texas being allowed by the Legislature to award 4 year degrees. King said it would be his desire that community colleges work out their own agreements with Universities and pool resources. He is not in favor of the government telling community colleges what degrees they can or cannot offer.
King said one bill he will be working on this session is making some minor changes to the school calendar bill he supported last session which converted the school calendar from a number of days to a number of instructional minutes. He said their were some changes that would need to be made in order for the bill to comply with the Education Code.