TO: Governor Greg Abbott, Texas
FROM: Mina Prophitt
DATE: March 28, 2020
RE: Summary of public finance towards public education
The purpose of this memo is to give an overview of the government funding towards the education system of Texas city. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is mandated by the state government to allocate funds to various education programs for the benefit of public schools in Texas. The funding, however, comes from different sources in Texas state. Yet, these public schools have, for a long time, recorded poor grades. The next section, however, will explain in detail the elements of Texas, such as organizational structure, the profile and economic conditions, fiscal policies, budget calendar, goals and objectives, and future trends.
Texas state has various branches, namely, the executive, judiciary, legislature, and the local government. The executive is further divided into several agencies. These agencies include the attorney general, consumer protection offices, corrections department, education department, elections office, emergency department agency, lottery results, motor vehicle offices, travel and tourism, surplus property sales, and social services. The legislature, on the other hand, comprises the speaker, senate, and house representatives. The judiciary is composed of the Texas Supreme court that handles civic issues and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal. The Local government consists of 245 counties, over 1200 municipals, and numerous special districts. TEA falls under the executive agency of the education department (Philips, 2017). TEA, however, receives funding from different sources; state and federal government in the form of grants, coffers, permanent endowment, and others. Most of the public schools in Texas have poor grades due to inadequate resources such as lab equipment, especially public schools in municipals and special districts. Therefore, TEA should be accountable and wise in the allocation of funds toward public education. TEA should consider appointing honest officials in the local government, counties, municipal, and special district to ensure that all funds are appropriately allocated.
Profile and Economic Conditions
The economy of Texas is the second-largest state in the U.S. after California. Therefore, Texas contributes mainly towards the overall economy of the U.S. The gross state product of Texas as per 2018 was $1.803 trillion (Hernandez et al. 2018). The profile of Texas concerning its economy consists of taxes, industries, exports, and the wealthiest places in Texas state. Exports generate high revenues. Charges in Texas contributes a smaller percentage towards the overall economy of the state. This implies that the tax burden is quite low on the local people of Texas state. The wealthiest places in Texas also contribute towards the economy through tourism. The industries, on the other hand, are subdivided into agriculture, aeronautics, defense, energy, tourism, computer technology, entertainment, and healthcare. These industries receive funding from the state and the federal government. Therefore, public education should be included in the sectors. Through that, it will receive enough funding to facilitate the buying of enough equipment that will improve the quality of education.
Fiscal policy is the process of influencing the economy through the use of government revenues such as taxes as well as the expenditure by the government. Texas is an example of a state with its fiscal policies that are under the constitution. The overall fiscal policy requires that the government of Texas should manage all the operations under a balanced budget. However, in the long run, Texas state has lacked fiscal transparency. Thus, Texas found itself working under a budget that exceeds the fixed one (Wang, 2016). Therefore, standards were set to ensure fiscal transparency is achieved. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, in conjunction with the other 16 stakeholders, held a press conference on September 25th, 2019, to publicize these standards. These standards were based on prioritizing the legislative function of the state. The first standard was to cut on government spending below the population growth as well as inflation in Texas. Through this, there would be enough resources to meet the rising population as well as mitigating inflation. As a result, the government will allocate funds to build schools due to the increasing population; hence the quality of education will be improved.
Moreover, the state of Texas uses strategy-based budgeting in the allocation of funds. This method, however, does not promote transparency. Therefore, legislative officials find it difficult to ensure that all the departments used the funds wisely. This is because the lawmakers do not know when the departments have effectively used the funds as initially planned. Therefore, to eliminate the lack of transparency, program-based budgeting was one of the standards of ensuring fiscal policy. Through this program, every dollar spent publicly can be tracked hence making it easy for lawmakers to identify irresponsible government officials. Therefore, the education sector will be able to provide quality education to kids through the proper allocation of funds.
The other standard that would ensure fiscal policies are adhered to is the adoption of a zero-based budgeting process. This budget process will ensure that the finances of Texas are correctly used by cutting down on unnecessary spending. This budget process expects all the agencies to start a financial year with zero budget. After that, these agencies should be able to convince the lawmakers as to why the taxpayers should spend their money on their programs, yet they receive funding from the government. Therefore, TEA should convince lawmakers how effective lab equipment is to children and its effect on their performance.
Budget calendar of Texas state, especially the local government, allows Texas to start or end their fiscal year at any month. However, before completing their fiscal year, the local government is expected to complete various steps before beginning a new fiscal year. The budget calendar, therefore, promotes transparency because a local government is expected to list its dates, time, goals, and meetings. The budget calendar also provides a planned framework for preparing, approving, implementing, and evaluating the budget (Board, 2017). These are the steps that should be followed before starting a new fiscal year. Texas State has been using a budget calendar for 20 years. This budget calendar enables the local government to become accountable for the handling of public funds. This, therefore, promotes transparency. Furthermore, the budget calendar of Texas state enables the local government staff to stay focused on achieving its goals and objectives within the stipulated date and time. The issue of transparency and achieving goals applies to public education as well. Therefore, the quality of education is ensured. Therefore, there will be improved grades in the public schools of Texas.
Goals and Objectives
Texas state, being the second largest state in the U.S., has its objectives and goals. The governor is, therefore, expected to ensure that strategies are made to achieve these goals and objectives. Some of the main goals and objectives include a financially stable government. This can be achieved by establishing a long-range financial plan. Furthermore, fiscal transparency can help the government obtain a financially stable government. The other strategy that the Texas government can employ to achieve a financially stable government is a reasonable tax rate that will generate enough revenues to fund the needs of the community, education being the core need as well as managing their debts.
The other goal of Texas is keeping the community safe and healthy as well as engaging them. This objective can be achieved through the expansion of health facilities and setting aside enough public and open places. The government of Texas can achieve the goal of involving the community by rolling out volunteer programs where people can participate. Good infrastructure is the other goal of Texas state. This can be achieved by allocating funds for expanding roads and rails as well as building new ones. A street maintenance program can also be implemented
Several trends will shape the future of Texas state. These trends include increased immigration due to advanced technology. Women are rising due to women’s empowerment as well as the emphasis on gender equality. Health care will be highly needed due to emerging diseases and high demand for education due to the increased population that will lead to more students (Kenneth, 2017). Therefore, all possible measures should be taken to mitigate these trends. The measures include harnessing the quality of education as well as setting up new schools.
Board, L. B. (2017). Legislative budget board staff reports. Hodges, R., Payne, E. M., Suh, E., Hernandez, P., Wu, N., Castillo, A., & Shetron, T. H. (2018). A Review of Demographic Trends for Texas and the United States.
Kenneth, W. G. (July 2017). AN ECONOMIC TSUNAMI IS HEADED THIS WAY: 7 Top Trends That Will Shape Texas In The Coming Decade. Retrieved from: https://texasceomagazine.com/7-top-trends-will-shape-texas-coming-decade/
Phillips, S. E. (2017). G.I. Forum v. Texas Education Agency: Psychometric Evidence 1. In Defending A High School Graduation Test (pp. 343-385). Routledge.
Seymour, E. J., Kuhn, B. T., Balke, K. N., Chaudhary, N. A., Jasek, D. L., Rajbhandari, R., … & Venglar, S. P. (2016). ITS strategic plan for Texas (No. FHWA/TX-13/0-6672-P1). Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
Wang, H. (2016). The Texas economic model, miracle or mirage? A spatial hedonic analysis. The Annals of Regional Science, 56(2), 393-417.