The Texas House has approved the first of a few supplemental spending bills that will be enacted for state fiscal 2013, which ends this August.
HB 10 authorizes $4.5 billion in General Revenue needed to pay about six months’ worth of Medicaid and CHIP bills, a shortfall that was deliberately written into the 2012-13 budget during 2011 as part of legislative attempts to prevent even larger cuts to schools, health care, and other state services. Not only does HB 10 draw down $6.6 billion in federal dollars for low-income Texans’ health care, it also prevents the loss of 285,000 jobs, according to a dynamic economic impact statement by the Legislative Budget Board. In other words, without the $11.2 billion in state and federal dollars to pay for Medicaid- and CHIP-supported health care, 285,000, or 2.6 percent, of all Texas non-farm jobs would be eliminated. State unemployment would also rise significantly, to 8.4 percent from the current 6.1 percent, based on December 2012 information from the Texas Workforce Commission.
HB 10 also authorizes $630 million in additional state spending through the Foundation School Program, the primary way that state aid goes to over 1,000 local public school districts and charter schools. After final approval in the House, HB 10 will go to the Senate.