Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘CPPP’

What’s the Lege going to do with the revenue?

Not as much as it should, of course, because the Lege never comes close to doing as much as it should. It’s a question of whether they’ll try to address some real problems, or just engage in an orgy of tax cutting. Texans can expect tax relief, a laser focus on border security and more […]

734K ACA enrollments in Texas

Pretty damn impressive, all things considered. New numbers out show that 734,000 Texans bought health insurance through the federal marketplace from last October to April 19, 2014, a report released by Health and Human Services shows. Prior to March 1, an anemic 295,000 people had signed up, but in the final stretch of the Affordable […]

What’s the health insurance enrollment status in Texas?

The short answer is that we don’t know. The longer answer, as this Express-News story indicates, is that we’ll never really know. Self-sufficiency. Distrust. Desire for flexibility. Those are some reasons many consumers bypassed health insurance plans sold on government-run exchanges and instead chose to buy coverage directly from insurance agents or brokers before open […]

The coverage gap

As you may know, the intent of the Affordable Care Act was to get people below a certain income level onto Medicaid, with people at or above that income level receiving subsidized health insurance via the exchanges. Unfortunately, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion mandate was unconstitutional, it meant that in states […]

What we missed by not getting a payday lending bill

Better Texas Blog reminds us of what could have been SB 1247, the omnibus reform bill filed by Sen. John Carona … included the ability to repay standards, loan limits, and refinance limitations, among numerous other provisions. According to the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC), the refinance limitations alone in SB 1247 would have […]

If Medicaid is broken, who broke it?

Patricia Kilday Hart asks an excellent question. [Rep. Garnet] Coleman’s observation provides part of the answer: Just last session, the Legislature trimmed $486 million in state money paid to Medicaid providers, and ended a student loan-forgiveness program for new doctors exclusively serving Medicaid patients. The federal government, which has established some rules that restrict the […]

Division over the payday loan bill

Quite a heated little fight in the Senate yesterday. An ugly scene erupted in the Texas Senate today, with Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) suggesting that some of his Republican colleagues were “shills” for the payday loan industry and worrying that the GOP would be seen as “the party that is backed and bankrolled by payday […]

Here come the tax cut proposals

When the sunny revenue forecast came in, we immediately got one crappy tax cut idea, to eliminate the margins tax at a cost of $4.5 billion. The Texas Association of Business didn’t care for the idea, at least at first, but are now warming up to it, because this is what they do. For Bill […]

Like it or not, Obamacare is coming to Texas

The Better Texas blog reminds us that as the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in next year there are things that need to be done in Texas to be compliant [W]hat I hope to see are bills that prepare Texas for 2014 market changes to help keep premiums reasonable, encourage competition, and ensure that the […]

Meet the new budget

Same as the old budget. Republican leaders in both chambers of the Legislature on Monday offered spare first drafts of the state’s next two-year budget that continue $5.4 billion in cuts to public education made last session and freeze funding for an embattled state agency set up to find a cure for cancer. Upending recent […]

How the so-called “fiscal cliff” might affect Texas

There is of course a very simple way to avoid this. If President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans cannot avoid tripping off the edge of the so-called fiscal cliff, then the Texas budget could be more than $1 billion short over the next two years. But fewer federal dollars flowing through the state budget would […]

What’s $2 billion among friends?

Easy come, easy go, am I right? If Texas leaders turn down the federal health law’s Medicaid expansion, they will reject a $2 billion annual revenue stream for the state’s hospitals, according to Dan Mendelson, CEO and founder of Avalere Health, a strategic advisory company based in Washington, D.C. Speaking at about 2 minutes, 5 […]

Fee for all

Fees are part of the answer for Texas’ pressing infrastructure needs, but they aren’t and cannot be the whole solution. To help keep the Texas business climate robust, lawmakers should double state fees on motor vehicle registrations and impose a new fee on every water meter in the state, the state’s largest business lobbying group […]

Revenues rise, but reality recognition doesn’t

Good news and bad news, because we can’t have one without the other. The latest bit of positive fiscal news came Tuesday when the state comptroller released numbers showing that business tax collections in Texas had exceeded projections. Comptroller Susan Combs had estimated that the franchise tax paid by businesses would bring in about $4 […]

One million uninsured kids

One point two million uninsured kids in Texas, actually. But who’s counting? More than 1 million Texas children remain without health insurance, and those kids are not getting the care they need. The startling condition of the state’s children came into vivid focus last week with the release of the annual Kids Count survey. The […]

Texas high school graduation rate improved over the last decade

According to one report, anyway. Texas’ graduation rate for high school students increased 1.9 percent since 2002 to just below the national average, according to a new report by a coalition of education groups. The report found that high school graduation rates rose from 73.5 percent to 75.4 percent between 2002 and 2009, and pulled […]

State revenues inching up

A little bit of good news. State coffers will be bit plumper than previously expected, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday, but her outlook for the Texas economy is less optimistic. Texas is estimated to collect $1.6 billion more than was budgeted for 2012-13, the two-year budget that started Sept. 1. The comptroller’s report provides the […]

Don’t expect the next budget to be any better than this one

Continuing a theme I’ve harped on here, if state legislators thought that they solved Texas’ budget issues this year they are sadly mistaken. Some experts say Texas tax revenues must zoom far above forecasts, if we’re to escape another miserable budget session in 2013. But the state’s leading forecaster on Wednesday offered little hope that […]

Talking about the T word

Scott McCown brings up the subject of taxes but leaves it short of where to go from here. If a stronger economy, honest budgeting and pitting priorities against each other aren’t the answer, what is? Texas must modestly increase taxes. No one is suggesting that Texas become a high-tax state, but Texas must raise the […]

We have a budget

Such as it is. Budget negotiators met briefly this morning and voted 9-1 to adopt a conference committee report that cuts the state budget over the next biennium by $15 billion, or 8 percent. The total amount of funding from taxpayers, known as general funds, is $80.4 billion. The total expenditures for all funds, including […]

Dewhurst flips, then flops, on using rainy day funds

First he says he’s against it. [Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst sounded supportive of the overall level of spending in the Senate plan, but voiced a preference for using what he calls nontax revenue items instead of the rainy day fund. Some of the supposed nontax revenue ideas that senators haven’t embraced include selling some state […]

Harris County prepares to get hammered

The House budget will cost Harris County a bundle if it passes as is. Harris County health care providers would lose more than $2 billion in Medicaid funding under the Texas House budget that passed Sunday night, according to an Austin think tank. The Center for Public Policy Priorities’ county-by-county analysis found the hit, by […]

The Lege’s job killing budget

Do you think this is what all those people who came out to vote last November had in mind? The Legislative Budget Board, a nonpartisan state agency that helps lawmakers with budget numbers, predicts that House version of the 2012-2013 state budget would result in 272,000 fewer jobs in Texas the first year and 335,000 […]

Comptroller finds a few more bucks

Better than a sharp stick in the eye. Comptroller Susan Combs has revised the state’s 2011 revenue estimate by $300 million because of stronger-than-expected sales tax collections. That change would reduce the deficit in the current budget to $4 billion and make an additional $300 million available for appropriation in the next two-year budget, which […]

Pitts endorses using at least some of the Rainy Day Fund

It’s a start. Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, the House’s lead budget writer, today filed bill that would draw down nearly $4.3 billion of rainy-day money to cover the state’s deficit in the current two-year cycle. Pitts’ plan would tap a fund composed mostly of oil and natural gas tax revenues, though general revenue fund surpluses […]

Business leaders urged to oppose “cuts only” approach to the budget

Good luck with that. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby is helping lead an effort to rally Texas business leaders against what he calls a “catastrophic” cuts-only approach to balancing the state’s budget in the face of a massive shortfall, estimated at $15 billion to $27 billion over the next two years. Hobby, a board member […]

Some reactions to LBB recommendations

The Statesman asks around about three of the Legislative Budget Board recommendations for raising revenue. First, the suggestion to allow liquor sales on Sunday, which it projects would generate an extra $7.4 million. Not surprisingly, the liquor industry favors this, but some others don’t: David Jabour, president of Austin-based Twin Liquors, said the demand wouldn’t […]

We have a number for the hole

There’s actually more than one number that can be used to accurately describe the state budget deficit, depending on what your perspective is, but however you look at it, it’s big and it’s no longer projected or theoretical. State Comptroller Susan Combs today said lawmakers will have $72.2 billion available to spend in general revenue […]

Please use the Rainy Day Fund

I don’t have any faith that those who need to hear this are listening, but as the 82nd Lege gets gaveled in today, it still needs to be said. A coalition of progressive organizations from throughout Texas called for “a balanced approach to a balanced budget” at a Capitol press conference Wednesday. The groups’ challenge […]

Medicaid: Ideologues versus experts

The fascinating thing in this story about the Republican plan to kill Medicaid is just how half-baked the idea is. GOP Gov. Rick Perry, fresh off a big re-election win and touting his new book on states’ rights, is among those who say it’s a good idea. The election results — which included a huge […]

How much do kids count?

In Texas, the answer is not much at all. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of Texas kids living in poverty grew by 240,000, accounting for 23 percent of the total child population. The national child poverty rate is 18 percent. [Frances Deviney, president of the Texas KIDS Count branch housed at the Center for […]

Why we can’t just cut our way out of the budget deficit

For one thing, there’s very little fat, and not much discretionary spending in the biggest budget items like health and human services. Of the $23 billion in state dollars appropriated in the current budget for health and human services programs, $20 billion is “restricted” because of state law, constitutional provisions or federal laws and regulations. […]

Our Hispanic schools

Take a look at the future. If you want to see how profoundly the state’s population is changing, look at the faces of the children in Texas public school classrooms. In all but rural areas, Hispanic enrollment is rapidly surpassing that of whites. Hispanic schoolchildren make up nearly 49 percent of Texas’ 4.8 million pre-K […]

Who can get health care in Williamson County

This is a bad idea. Williamson County commissioners have decided to stop paying health care costs for indigent adults and children who don’t have valid Social Security cards. County Judge Dan A. Gattis said last week that he wanted to ensure that there was enough money for the residents of Williamson County who qualified for […]