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 […]

The Latest Viral Video–Wealth Inequality

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

Stay up with what the cool kids are watching. A study on wealth inequality went viral on YouTube this week.  Dan Ariely, best-selling author of Predictably Irrational, and a Harvard Business School professor asked Americans what their ideal distribution of wealth would be. The answer? Pretty equal. Then they asked Americans what they thought the actual distribution […]

OPED–Texas Public Pensions On Sound Footing

“Texans believe in hard work that leads to a secure retirement. We provide our public servants a secure retirement through a decent pension. At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we recently released a major report on our state’s two largest pension plans, the Teacher Retirement System and the Employee Retirement System. Every pension plan […]

Restoring Education Should Take Priority

Chandra Villanueva

This week, I testified “on” SB 758 in a Senate Finance committee hearing because there are compelling reasons for and against undoing the Foundation School Program deferral – Deferring the FSP payment prevented even further cuts to public education last session.  Undoing this deferment now would make this tool available again the next time there is […]

TX House Pays Our Unpaid Bills & Prevents Job Losses

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 […]

Public Ed, Teacher Retirement, and the Budget

Chandra Villanueva

This week, I delivered the following testimony to the House Appropriations Committee regarding public education & Texas’ teacher retirement system: TEA: Last session, $5.3 billion was cut from public education – $4 billion from formula funding and $1.3 billion from educational grant programs. We were told these cuts were necessary because the state didn’t have the revenue […]

State Employee Retirement & The Budget

Chandra Villanueva

This week, I shared this testimony with Senate Finance Committee members on the state’s Employee Retirement System: ERS is more than just retirement income for our state employees. As a Defined-Benefit pension plan, ERS retirement benefits are: an effective tool for the recruitment and retention of a quality workforce; they strengthen the middle class by […]

TX Women Need Preventive Care, And the Lege Needs to Fund It

Having access to wellness and preventive care services like well-woman exams, cancer screenings, and birth control helps all Texas women stay healthy, plan their futures, and provide the best life they can for their families. Just ask Anavi Cantu. She’s a 29-year-old mom of three, who’s also a full-time student, from Robstown in South Texas. […]

Covering More Low-Income Adults Will Save TX Money & Bring In New Revenue

My testimony to the House Appropriations HHS subcommittee Monday highlighted large cost savings and new revenues Texas can expect if we accept the ACA opportunity to cover very low-income adults in Medicaid. You can download the full document here.