Today, the Governor delivered his 7th State of the State speech. Here are some of our takeaways…
What we heard:
- Texas is a job creator. Actually, Texas has the third highest percentage of low-wage jobs that offer no benefits, benefits that help lift families out of poverty or keep them from falling further into poverty.
- A constitutional limit on spending should be a high priority for legislators. Actually, such a proposal would hurt Texas’ ability to invest in public services in the long run and would have to be exceeded to implement the Governor’s proposed budget.
- A proposal of $1.8 billion in tax cuts, $960 million to come from General Revenue spending & $840 million to come from the Rainy Day Fund. That $1.8 billion is exactly the amount missing from Senate Bill 1 to cover additional Medicaid clients, and is the exact amount cut from Medicaid in 2011. It’s also about one third of what was cut from public education in 2011.
- A reiterated refusal to strengthen Medicaid for low-income Texas adults. Actually, accepting this opportunity from the Affordable Care Act would create jobs in Texas, bring in a significant amount of federal dollars, and insure 1 million Texans.
- School choice should also be a high priority for the Texas Legislature. Actually, “school choice” means fewer choices for low-income Texas school children.
- A renewed call to freeze tuition at Texas universities and colleges. That’s a tuition freeze when higher education is being cut in Senate Bill 1.
What we didn’t hear:
- A commitment to invest in the people of Texas, no matter how much they make or their zip code
- A promise to undo the 2011 cuts, including the unnecessary $5.4 billion cut to public education
- Long-term solutions to fix our budget and revenue system and create a 21st century budget that works for all of us.
We’ll have more soon on what these priorities, and what the Governor’s budget, means for Texas.