Senate Bill 19, not a solution for teacher pay raises

Representative Pancho Nevárez

Austin- Last night, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 19 (85-1) which transfers 405 million dollars out of Health & Human Services, Managed Care Organizations to pay for teacher pay raises and TRS Care.

The Bill Analysis for SB 19 states that the $405 million transferred out of MCO payments will be funded by deferring payments that are due in August 2019 to September 2019. This deferral allows for the State to appropriate the $405 million now and find the money to pay it back later.

The bonuses for teachers will start in September 2018. The next election for Lieutenant Governor (and Governor, should Patrick decide to challenge Abbott) is in November 2018. This junxapoisition is not coincidental.

Lawmakers who return in 2019 will be challenged with finding the extra $405 million to make the MCOs whole and finding additional funding to continue the pay raises. Senators supporting SB 19 admit that this bill is not a solution, calling it a “bridge” until school finance can be fixed. Teachers deserve these bonuses and pay raises. But they deserve sustainable long-term pay-raises, not a smoke and mirrors game to get past the next election cycle.

Representative Nevárez issued the following statement:

  “Lieutenant Governor Patrick repeatedly referred to House Bill 21, the proposed school finance reform bill as a ‘ponzi scheme.’ Yet his solution to teacher pay raises appropriates no new money and is based only on deferring payments that the State already owes.

Senate Bill 19 is based on the assumption that next session, in 2019,  we will find the funds to pay for these deferred payments and then pay them back in September 2019. Lieutenant Governor Patrick is taking the credit today for work that will be done next session, which is convenient when you are up for re-election.”

Representative Alfonso “Poncho” Nevárez is currently serving his third term as the State Representative for House District 74. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. He is also a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, and the House Calendars Committee.


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