By Mia Ibarra
TexasForward, a broad-based revenue coalition promoting a balanced approach to state budget decisions, held its quarterly membership meeting on Friday, October 26. Representatives from many of the coalition’s 53 member organizations gathered in Austin to strategize for the upcoming legislative session.
While the Texas economy is recovering and 2012 sales tax revenue exceeded the Comptroller’s forecast, Texas’ public services are still in a recession. Our own Eva DeLuna Castro gave an update on the state budget, explaining the damaging cuts to health care, education, and public safety made during the 2011 Legislature and budget needs for 2014-2015. Attendees also participated in a training exercise facilitated by representatives from Progress Texas to practice talking about the state budget.
Member organizations renewed their endorsement of TexasForward’s principles and adopted a 2013 Legislative Agenda aimed at restoring services impacted by the 2011 cuts, increasing investment to meet the demands of population growth, and addressing Texas’ long-term structural deficits:
To get education, health and human services back to a level that meets today’s needs and prepares Texas for future demands:
- Use all available cash balances
- Use the Economic Stabilization Fund (“Rainy Day Fund”)
- Maximize use of all available federal funding, especially to expand Medicaid
To improve decision-making:
- Conduct ongoing sunset reviews of all tax exemptions and eliminate those found to be outmoded and unproductive
- Improve openness and transparency of the budget process
You can join our efforts by signing a petition to tell Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and state leadership that we need a real plan to meet the needs of Texans, which include public investments in schools and health care that will make our state stronger for years to come.