Responding to Jerry Patterson's Letter to Progress Texas Members
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is hoarding $300 million from Texas schools that voters already approved in the 2011 November constitutional amendment election. He responded to our action with a derisive letter full of lies. We have drafted a memo setting the record straight.
Jerry Patterson’s letter says Progress Texas is misleading our membership about two things:
(1) Patterson argues that by approving Proposition 6 in the November 2011 constitutional amendment election, voters approved a transfer of money to the Available School Fund, but never $300 million specifically. This claim is absolutely false. Editorials across the state noted the $300 million associated with Proposition 6, and one even noted that Patterson had dropped his original opposition to the amendment. In fact, the official Journal of the Texas House notes that Patterson had agreed to release $300 million once the law went into effect.
(2) Patterson also argues that by inverting the words “to” and “from” in the letter we asked members to sign we are purposefully misleading our members about this action. We own up to our mistake – we did invert the two words in the letter – but to suggest we purposefully misled our membership is a coward’s play designed to distract from Patterson’s lies in Point 1. Our language explaining the transfer of $300 million was accurate in the e-mail we sent announcing the action, in our blog post about the action, and in our “The Facts” section of our action page.
Each of those points is addressed in our full memo below, which you can also download here.
We stress - again - that we agree with Jerry Patterson that Republicans in the Texas Legislature are responsible for the $5.4 billion in education cuts. Texas Republicans should have authorized the release of money from the Rainy Day Fund.
But we can’t tap the Rainy Day Fund today. We can’t pass a law to send more money to our schools today. What can be done is what Jerry Patterson is refusing to do: respect the will of the voters and stop hoarding the $300 million from our kids’ classrooms. And while some may say the $300 million is a small amount compared to the $5.4 billion Republicans cut from our schools, that $300 million would restore jobs to 3,000 teachers (earning the average $47,000 a year salary) for these two years the budget cuts are in effect.
We encourage you to read our full memo below, to read the facts about how Jerry Patterson is lying to our members:
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