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Feb 24 2017

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Letter to the Editor for 2-23-2017

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

The Point Isabel school board did a great disservice to the district’s students, teachers, families and all taxpayers, when they rejected consideration of Chapter 313 for two multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas projects.

If the four school board members who voted against the possibility of Chapter 313 agreements thought they were doing what was best for the community, they were wrong.  Many voters, who put into office, would like you to review and consider the State Tax Code Chapter 313, as well as all person whom of which haven’t.

What the school board majority did was throw away the opportunity to keep millions of property tax dollars in the school district. Because the district is considered a “property-rich” district under the state’s “Robin Hood” education funding plan, it will pay millions more to the state for years to come that would otherwise benefit our students and teachers.

Just the proposed Chapter 313 agreement with Rio Grande LNG could have brought as much as $15 million or more in additional property tax revenue to the school district over the course of these temporary agreements. That’s millions of dollars we won’t get unless a Chapter 313 agreement is signed. Why wouldn’t we want those dollars going to improve our children’s education?

Only two years ago the district approved a Chapter 313 with SpaceX. According to news reports, the school district estimated that it would net about $5 million in SpaceX property taxes over the following 10 years, with half of that going back to the state as part of the re-capture or “Robin Hood” plan. Reports quoted the superintendent saying how the additional money would be used to buy new school buses and upgrade facilities.

Why did the board approve the SpaceX agreement, which is bringing in significantly less revenue to the district? Do they have all of the funding they need to provide the best education for our students and offer competitive salaries to hire and retain the best educators? I don’t think so.

Please join me in calling on school board members to consider a favorable vote for the Chapter 313 agreements. A vote for these tax incentives is a vote for a better education for our students and a brighter future for our community.

Sincerely,
David H. Woolverton
Concerned Citizen
Port Isabel

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