OPED–What can the Lege do to help TX families achieve the American Dream?

As the Texas Legislature starts drafting a budget and writing laws that reflect the state’s values and respond to the state’s needs, it should ask: What does it really take for Texas families to make ends meet and have the opportunity to move ahead? What can the Legislature do to help Texas families achieve the […]

New Tool Highlights What Texas Families Must Earn to Meet Basic Needs

Today we released a new data tool that finds that what a two-parent household with two children in Texas must earn to cover basic expenses like affordable housing, food, child care, and health care ranges from $35,320 a year in Abilene to $50,023 a year in Austin/Round Rock/San Marcos, and that’s without family, community, or […]

SB 1 Is 11% Below What’s Needed for a Better Texas

Today, the Senate Finance committee kicked off public hearings on Senate Bill 1, the proposed state budget for 2014 and 2015. At $89 billion in General Revenue, the Senate’s starting point is 8 percent below a conservative estimate of the $97 billion needed just to keep the “bare bones” budget going while retaining all the […]

Proposed SB 1 Does Nothing To Restore Public Education

Chandra Villanueva

Today, I testified at the first Senate Finance Committee hearing of the session. Below is a summary of what I shared with committee members: Last session, $5.3 billion was cut from public education – $4 billion from formula funding and $1.3 billion from education grant programs. We were told these cuts were necessary because the […]

OPED–Visions for Lone Star Lawmakers

This weekend, Eva’s piece ran in the Austin American-Statesman’s Legislative Preview series: We believe in Texas. We believe in the people of Texas. We know it’s hard for families, especially Texas families, to admit that they need and ask for help. Recently, we documented five Texas families’ stories as they struggle to make ends meet […]

2013 Lege–Public Education

Chandra Villanueva

On the face of it, “school choice” sounds like an intriguing concept. But, a key component of the school choice proposal presented by Senate leadership, which purports to allow for students to transfer within and between districts, offers few choices for too few students. After the 2011 Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education last […]

How We Work for a Better Texas

Working for a Better Texas

Health Care Protecting and improving Texas Medicaid and CHIP will help ensure access to a decent standard of health care for millions of low-income Texas seniors, children, and families who can’t afford private insurance. Accepting the Affordable Care Act’s opportunity to cover more than a million uninsured Texas adults in Medicaid will bring billions back […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Four

Almost 1.5 million students were enrolled in credit courses at a Texas college or university in Fall 2011—more than 9 out of 10 of them at a public institution. Public community and other two-year colleges alone enroll more than half of all students in the state. Higher education funding, including financial aid, is 15 percent […]

Big Ideas to Make Our Kids, Texas, the Southwest, & the U.S. Stronger

First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization that works to make children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions, has released a new report called Big Ideas: Children in the Southwest. So why focus on just kids in the Southwest? Well, as is pointed out in the report, the Southwest states (California, Arizona, […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Two

Public education is important in the Texas budget not just because it’s the biggest piece (42 percent of General Revenue spending), but because of its key role in preparing roughly 5 million students to be the college students, productive workers, and informed citizens of the future. Unfortunately, the 2011 Legislature made $5.3 billion in cuts […]