The chairman of Texas' dominant grocery chain (and a good one!) pleads for sanity in the Texas education budget.
Our company has been serving Texans since 1905 and this recession isn't our first rodeo!
We kept adding people and stores right through the Great Depression of the 1930s until building materials became unavailable due to World War II. Company growth continued through the recessions of 1973-75 and the 1980s and we are building and hiring aggressively today.
For Texas to cut $4 billion from public school funding now, when a better-educated Texas can be a bulwark against future recessions, seems unwise, not conservative and, in fact, very risky for the state. Falling back isn't the way Eisenhower and Patton won World War II.
This isn't about political parties or national issues; it's about the future of Texas.
As business people investing annually, we are worried about the state's future if we start cutting education funding — lower per capita income and higher crime rates are almost certain to result. An educated workforce is essential to all industries.
With 160,000 children joining the system in the next biennium we at least need to fund at 2010-2011 levels.
In March 2011, the Financial Times reported Texas to be 44th out of 50 states in funding per student and said Texas had "one of the most underfunded - and needy - education systems in the U.S." Let's move forward (as Texas always has), not back.
I urge you to consider these views for the future good of the state we all love.
Thank you for your public service! Respectfully,
Charles C. Butt, chairman and CEO, H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio
HEB is not a liberal institution by any means. But they are a family business, rooted in Texas, and in it for the long haul. That even they are publicly raising questions about the ALEC policy portfolio shows just how far from "conservative" this party-of-pillage approach really is.
Meanwhile, as part of its response to the manufactured budget crisis in Wisconsin, the budget bill advocated by the majority has provisions that "would give a $150,000-a-year exemption from the state sales tax for snow-making and grooming equipment used by ski slopes and trails and a $500,000-a-year sales-tax exemption for direct-mail advertising."
These are worthy causes for cutting back on education, aren't they?