East Texans Disagree with Proposed Funding Plan

Texas state leaders need to agree on a new plan to fund public education. The latest idea would cut property taxes by a third and make up the difference by taking in a lot of extra money from smokers.

If the plan passes, cigarette taxes would go up a dollar a pack from 41 cents to $1.41. The extra tax revenue would be combined with some increased business taxes to pay for public schools, but some East Texans believe increasing the alcohol excise tax may be a better source of revenue. It has not been increased in Texas in 20 years.

Janet Taylor of the Chamber Coalition for a Better Community said, "Alcohol kills five times more teens in Texas than all drugs combined and it would really affect that underrage population because they are so price sensitive."

The Texas Tax Reform Commission came up with the latest plan. It will be debated by state lawmakers at a special session later this month. The plan would also use a billion dollars from the state's budget surplus to fund public schools.