WHAT: Some of the nation’s largest oil refineries are seeking huge tax refunds that could force school districts and local governments across Texas to give back tens of millions of dollars they were counting on to pay teachers and provide other services.
WHY: The refineries want the tax breaks in exchange for buying pollution-controlling equipment. But the cost to public schools would be dear, coming only months after lawmakers slashed education spending by more than $4 billion.
WHY IT’S OUTRAGEOUS: If a three-member commission appointed by Gov. Rick Perry grants the refunds, nearly half the money would be taken from schools. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is evaluating 16 refund requests that could add up to more than $135 million, according to county tax data.