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Education News

With Petition Signatures Delivered, Possible Legal Battle Brews Over Education Tax

This morning, the Early to Rise campaign for a new education tax finished its petition drive. It delivered thousands of signatures to the Harris County Judge. But the judge says there could be lawsuits whether or not the petition makes the ballot.



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Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the tax assessor collector will now start to verify the petition signatures with voter rolls.

More than 150,000 signatures support putting a new education tax on the ballot in November.

Emmett says he expects a legal fight no matter what happens next.

“I mean if I put it on the ballot, there’s another group that may sue me and enjoin me from putting it on the ballot because they said the law doesn’t apply and then the group that wants it on the ballot — they’ve already publicly said to many, many people — they’re going to sue me if I don’t put it on the ballot.”

Emmett declined to name a specific group or person that would sue if the measure makes the ballot.

The group that wants it before voters is Early to Rise. They say the one penny tax would create about $25 million dollars a year to improve early education across Harris County.

James Calaway with the campaign stands behind their process.

But now state Senator Dan Patrick is asking the Attorney General the same legal questions about the petition that the county judge has been raising.

“If there are no rulings to stop it and if the requirements are met and the judge grants it, then I would not support this and I don’t think most voters will support it. But before we get to that point, we need to look at the legality of the petition to begin with.”

Patrick is a Houston Republican and chairs the senate education committee.

Usually it takes six months to get an opinion from the Attorney General. Patrick has asked for an answer as soon as possible. 


Related Stories:

Campaign for Early Education Tax Finishes Petition Drive, Faces Critical Next Step

How Much The Proposed Property Tax For Early Education Will Cost, And Why It’s Likely To Pass

Harris County Judge Has Big Questions About Petition For Education Tax

Why Sheriff Garcia Comes Out In Support Of Controversial Petition