Open Letter to State Budget Conferees

Today, we sent a letter to the budget conferees outlining our recommendations for reconciling the differences between the House and the Senate regarding health and human services and public and higher education. The conference committee will probably finish making its decisions by Friday, May 10. Only a few days are left for you to make […]

A better way to increase investments in communities

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Two bills making their way quickly through the Legislature would create a “New Markets” program to grant tax credits for investments in firms that would, in turn, invest in economically distressed communities.  These bills, SB 931 and HB 2061, would cost the state nearly $300 million over a five-year period. The State of Maryland has […]

Proposals Would Take Money From Utility Assistance for Low-Income Families

The Center for Public Policy Priorities opposes SJR 55 and SB 1655, which would take money dedicated to utility-bill assistance for low-income families and instead give it to electricity consumers, including large industrial customers. The money in question is in the System Benefit Fund, created by the 1999 Legislature as part of electric utility market […]

Nifty Data App Shows Local Impact Of Family Planning Cuts

Our friends at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project have created a new online data app that shows the impact of the 2011 family planning budget cuts on local communities. Check it out here. Lead investigator Dr. Joe Potter and graduate research assistant Amanda Stevenson combed through mountains of state data to determine how each county, […]

Preliminary House Budget Doesn’t Move Education Funding Forward

Chandra Villanueva

Today, the House budget proposal hits the floor for what will likely to a marathon debate on what our 2014-15 spending will look like. When it comes to public education, the House proposal doesn’t meet the needs of Texas’ children. Here’s an excerpt from my newest policy page about school finance and the House budget […]

Even With Senate Budget, School Districts Will Still Have Less To Spend Per Student

The chart below is based on one done in late February by State Representative Gene Wu, showing real (inflation-adjusted) spending per Texas student. The amounts for 2014 and 2015 reflect what is being proposed in the budget that the Senate will debate today.     Despite the improvements made by the Senate Finance Committee, school […]

More Funding Needed For Retired Teachers To Be Self-Sufficient

Chandra Villanueva

Yesterday, I testified in support of HB 1383 in the House Pensions Committee meeting: “In retirement, Texas teachers rely almost exclusively on their TRS pension because the vast majority are not eligible to participate in Social Security. These retirees have seen their income erode over the past 11 years, because the system can not grant […]

OPED–Preventive Care & Contraception For All TX Women Is Essential For Families’ Well-Being

“For Texas women, access to family planning and basic health care isn’t a women’s issue or political issue; it’s a family issue. If the Legislature truly wants to invest in the future of our state and make life better for all families, lawmakers must adequately fund basic women’s health care and contraceptive services, and they […]

Senate Budget Would Continue to Fall Short of Meeting Texans’ Needs

Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved CSSB 1 (Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1), which would spend $94 billion in General Revenue and $195 billion in total money on services for all Texans during fiscal 2014 and 2015, the budget cycle that starts this September. Senators in charge of the various workgroups for the […]

Private Club Tax Break Hurts Public Services

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Wonder why there’s not enough money to pay for public schools or health care? One reason is that there are too many tax breaks that let special interests shirk paying their fair share of supporting public services. Here’s one example:  The River Oaks Country Club, an exclusive country club in Houston, saves about $2 million […]