In 2006, the Legislature erased a big chunk of school property taxes for homeowners across the state and replaced the lost revenue for schools with new business taxes, an increased cigarette tax and a revamped motor vehicle tax, among other sources. Teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses received a $2,000 pay raise.
What happened next, some say, is a cautionary tale for policymakers this year.
By 2011, with the state economy battered by the Great Recession, the Legislature slashed public education funding by $5.3 billion. It took years for schools to make up the losses. Property values continued to climb, and school districts figured out ways to ratchet tax rates back up.
In the legislative session that ended Monday, lawmakers, reacting to a rising clamor from