Advocating for public investments that improve people's lives.





TEXAS FORWARD NEWSROOM

Dallas Morning News: Groups warn Texas tax cuts, other shifts will make for tight budget


June 1, 2015

"A coalition of mostly progressive groups warned Monday that tax cuts and new fund shifts could blow a 2011-style hole in the state budget that must be written in two years. Fiscal bills passed in recent weeks could reduce discretionary funds — used for education, social services and prisons — by between $13 billion and $14 billion for the 2018-19 cycle, said members of Texas Forward."

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Dallas Morning News: Liberal groups warn Texas tax cuts, boost for roads will blow 2011-style hole in next budget

June 1, 2015

"A dozen representatives of teacher groups, unions, social workers, disability-rights advocates, health care activists, environmentalists and faith-based progressive groups on Monday called the just-completed budget and tax cuts a big disappointment. They also warned that lawmakers’ fiscal decisions — some well-known, some not so well-known — could blow a 2011-style hole in the state budget written next session."

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Statement: Tax Cut Compromise Will Harm Texas for Years to Come

May 20, 2015

Details have emerged about a tax cut deal between House and Senate leaders.  As reported, the deal includes a 25% cut to the franchise tax and a $10,000 increase to the homestead exemption.

“This deal will unfortunately lead us further down a path of reduced public investments in public services that both communities and businesses need to prosper,” said Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter. “Texas cannot remain competitive without adequate support for our schools, health care systems, and infrastructure. And we know the Texas economy is cyclical, meaning these permanent revenue cuts will result in future legislatures dealing with massive budget shortfalls.”

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Texas Forward Op-Ed - Tax cuts undermine services, economy 

This OpEd first appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on May 14 2015

With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads
"As Texas House and Senate conferees worked this past week to finalize the state budget, most legislators chose to ignore the state’s many neglected needs and focus on shortsighted tax cuts..."

While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Statement: Senate Passes HB 903 to Ensure Rainy Day Fund Meets the State's Future Needs

May 12, 2015

Today the Senate passed HB 903 by Rep. Capriglione, which would increase the investment earnings of the Rainy Day Fund and allow the state’s money to grow faster over time.

Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:

“Deciding to invest a portion of the Rainy Day Fund is sound fiscal policy, which will equal great dividends for the state of Texas. HB 903 puts our state’s savings to work for us while protecting lawmakers’ ability to address short-term budget shortfalls or emergencies.”

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Over 25 Groups Warn Legislature Tax Plan Could Cause More School & Health Cuts

Letter Says Huge Tax Cuts Put Children and Families One Economic Slowdown Away from 2011-Style Budget Cuts


April 13, 2015


20 Groups Warn Legislature Tax Plan Could Cause More School & Health Cuts
 
Letter Says Huge Tax Cuts Put Children and Families One Economic Slowdown Away from 2011-Style Budget Cuts
 
Austin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:
20 Groups Warn Legislature Tax Plan Could Cause More School & Health Cuts
 
Letter Says Huge Tax Cuts Put Children and Families One Economic Slowdown Away from 2011-Style Budget Cuts
 
Austin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:

Austin – Today over 25 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering are likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs that occurred in 2011. Tomorrow the Texas House Committee on Ways and Means is scheduled to consider legislation to reduce the tax rate on businesses and other tax legislation. 


The text of the letter is below:

Austin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:
 
Dear Legislature,
 
As organizations representing children, families, patients, teachers, people with disabilities, and other Texans, we are concerned that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals you are currently considering would place the state on a path to the kind of deep, harmful cuts to basic services that were enacted in 2011.
 
While we believe that some of the revenue legislators have artificially placed off limits to budget-writers this session should be dedicated to underfunded state priorities over the next two years, we also believe Texans need a fiscal plan that looks beyond the next biennium. Texas must be prepared for the natural ups and downs of the economy, particularly today as sales tax growth slows and oil prices remain low. Unless legislators make the current tax proposal temporary, or restore the Economic Stabilization Fund to its original intent, the next economic downturn will leave Texas without the revenue necessary to meet the needs of our growing state and risk another round of deep cuts to basic services.
 
We remember the 2011 cuts all too well. We have talked to the parents who sent their children to crowded classrooms. We have talked to the Texans with disabilities and health challenges who could not access the services they needed. We have talked to the students who took on unmanageable college debt as the state cut higher education investments. We have talked to the school staff who lost their jobs. And we have talked to the legislators from both parties who regretted the cuts.
 
We agree with the business leaders who have told the Legislature that meeting the neglected needs of our growing state is a higher priority than cutting taxes. We do not believe the Legislature should provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to multi-billion corporations while key services remain underfunded. We urge you to protect basic services for Texas families, now and in the future, and reconsider the current tax cut proposals.
 
We appreciate your consideration.
 
Sincerely,
Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
Pastors for Texas Children
Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFT
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Antonio
As
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owneAustin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:


Dear Legislature,

As organizations representing children, families, patients, teachers, people with disabilities, and other Texans, we are concerned that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals you are currently considering would place the state on a path to the kind of deep, harmful cuts to basic services that were enacted in 2011.

While we believe that some of the revenue legislators have artificially placed off limits to budget-writers this session should be dedicated to underfunded state priorities over the next two years, we also believe Texans need a fiscal plan that looks beyond the next biennium. Texas must be prepared for the natural ups and downs of the economy, particularly today as sales tax growth slows and oil prices remain low. Unless legislators make the current tax proposal temporary, or restore the Economic Stabilization Fund to its original intent, the next economic downturn will leave Texas without the revenue necessary to meet the needs of our growing state and risk another round of deep cuts to basic services.

We remember the 2011 cuts all too well. We have talked to the parents who sent their children to crowded classrooms. We have talked to the Texans with disabilities and health challenges who could not access the services they needed. We have talked to the students who took on unmanageable college debt as the state cut higher education investments. We have talked to the school staff who lost their jobs. And we have talked to the legislators from both parties who regretted the cuts.

We agree with the business leaders who have told the Legislature that meeting the neglected needs of our growing state is a higher priority than cutting taxes. We do not believe the Legislature should provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to multi-billion corporations while key services remain underfunded. We urge you to protect basic services for Texas families, now and in the future, and reconsider the current tax cut proposals.

We appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,


ADAPT of Texas
AFSCME TX Retirees

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Grassroots Leadership
Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA)

Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
North Texas Job with Justice
Pastors for Texas Children
Prevent Child Abuse Texas

Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
San Antonio Nonprofit Council
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFL-CIO
Texas AFT

Texas Kids Can't Wait
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Antonio
Workers Defense Project

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Grassroots Leadership
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
North Texas Job with Justice
Pastors for Texas Children
Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
San Antonio Nonprofit Council 
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFL-CIO
Texas AFT
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Antonio
Workers Defense Project

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Grassroots Leadership
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
North Texas Job with Justice
Pastors for Texas Children
Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
San Antonio Nonprofit Council 
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFL-CIO
Texas AFT
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Antonio
Workers Defense Project

Astin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:
 
Dear Legislature,
 
As organizations representing children, families, patients, teachers, people with disabilities, and other Texans, we are concerned that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals you are currently considering would place the state on a path to the kind of deep, harmful cuts to basic services that were enacted in 2011.
 
While we believe that some of the revenue legislators have artificially placed off limits to budget-writers this session should be dedicated to underfunded state priorities over the next two years, we also believe Texans need a fiscal plan that looks beyond the next biennium. Texas must be prepared for the natural ups and downs of the economy, particularly today as sales tax growth slows and oil prices remain low. Unless legislators make the current tax proposal temporary, or restore the Economic Stabilization Fund to its original intent, the next economic downturn will leave Texas without the revenue necessary to meet the needs of our growing state and risk another round of deep cuts to basic services.
 
We remember the 2011 cuts all too well. We have talked to the parents who sent their children to crowded classrooms. We have talked to the Texans with disabilities and health challenges who could not access the services they needed. We have talked to the students who took on unmanageable college debt as the state cut higher education investments. We have talked to the school staff who lost their jobs. And we have talked to the legislators from both parties who regretted the cuts.
 
We agree with the business leaders who have told the Legislature that meeting the neglected needs of our growing state is a higher priority than cutting taxes. We do not believe the Legislature should provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to multi-billion corporations while key services remain underfunded. We urge you to protect basic services for Texas families, now and in the future, and reconsider the current tax cut proposals.
 
We appreciate your consideration.
 
Sincerely,
Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
Pastors for Texas Children
Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFT
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Anto
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owne
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.
As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thriv

Austin – Today 20 organizations sent a letter to legislative leaders warning that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals they are considering is likely to cause a repeat of the deep cuts to education and health programs in 2011. The text of the letter is below:

Dear Legislature,

As organizations representing children, families, patients, teachers, people with disabilities, and other Texans, we are concerned that the nearly $5 billion tax cut proposals you are currently considering would place the state on a path to the kind of deep, harmful cuts to basic services that were enacted in 2011.

While we believe that some of the revenue legislators have artificially placed off limits to budget-writers this session should be dedicated to underfunded state priorities over the next two years, we also believe Texans need a fiscal plan that looks beyond the next biennium. Texas must be prepared for the natural ups and downs of the economy, particularly today as sales tax growth slows and oil prices remain low. Unless legislators make the current tax proposal temporary, or restore the Economic Stabilization Fund to its original intent, the next economic downturn will leave Texas without the revenue necessary to meet the needs of our growing state and risk another round of deep cuts to basic services.

We remember the 2011 cuts all too well. We have talked to the parents who sent their children to crowded classrooms. We have talked to the Texans with disabilities and health challenges who could not access the services they needed. We have talked to the students who took on unmanageable college debt as the state cut higher education investments. We have talked to the school staff who lost their jobs. And we have talked to the legislators from both parties who regretted the cuts.

We agree with the business leaders who have told the Legislature that meeting the neglected needs of our growing state is a higher priority than cutting taxes. We do not believe the Legislature should provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to multi-billion corporations while key services remain underfunded. We urge you to protect basic services for Texas families, now and in the future, and reconsider the current tax cut proposals.

We appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Austin Voices for Education and Youth
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Children's Defense Fund - Texas
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Foundation Communities
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter
Pastors for Texas Children
Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
SEIU- Texas
Texans Care for Children
Texas AFT
Texas National Nurses Organizing Committee
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Public Interest Research Group
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association
Voices for Children of San Antonio

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.


Coverage:

?
Statement: House prioritizes tax cuts over the needs of Texas
April 8, 2015

As
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.

Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses.

“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”

The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.


Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owners.
Representative Dennis Bonnen, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced details of his tax cut package in a press conference earlier today. The House tax cuts would cost over $4.8 billion, and consist of an across-the-board franchise tax rate reduction and a sales tax cut, 41 percent of which would also benefit businesses. 
“During last week’s budget debate in the House we heard Representatives say repeatedly that there was simply not enough money to do everything.” said Will Francis, Texas Forward coalition co-chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers–Texas Chapter. “Imagine what lawmakers could do for pre-k, Child Protective Services, financial aid, and other services if they chose to prioritize investments in Texas over tax cuts.”
The Senate has already passed its own package, which includes an expansion the franchise tax exemption for small businesses, a franchise tax rate cut, and increases the school homestead exemption for residential property owne
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.
As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Statement: Senate Finance tax proposals put the cart before the horse

March 17, 2015

As
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the tax rate and increase exemptions for the franchise (margins) tax paid by businesses.


Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:


“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. We think Senate leaders should listen to the business leaders who said they need education and transportation investments more than corporate tax breaks.”


Coverage: 

Senate panel advances tax-cut plan that would give average homeowner a $206 break (Dallas Morning News)

Tax Cut Proposals Meet Opposition (KEYE-TV Austin)


Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.”
Today the Senate Finance committee passed committee substitutes of SB 7 and SB 8, which reduce the franchise tax rate and increase exemptions, respectively. 
Will Francis, co-chair of the Texas Forward coalition steering committee and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“Senate Finance is putting the cart before the horse, prioritizing tax cuts before making sure lawmakers have crafted a budget that truly meets the needs of Texas. Businesses and families are depending on the Legislature to demonstrate long-term vision by making smart investments in our schools, health care, higher education, and infrastructure to keep Texas competitive in the future.
As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

New analysis -  Senate bill gives $387 million to $10 billion corporations

March 3, 2015

As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

Today the Senate Finance Committee laid out business tax cut proposals, including the $2.2 billion franchise tax cut package announced last week by Senator Jane Nelson and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.


An analysis by the Texas Forward Coalition found that $387 million, or 27 percent, of the proposed rate cut would go to businesses with $10 billion or more in gross receipts.


"One of the big beneficiaries of the Senate proposal is multi-billion dollar companies," said Dennis Borel, Texas Forward Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. "It's hard to argue a $10 billion company needs this revenue more than our personal care attendants making a base wage of $7.86 an hour to care for our disabled and aging Texans in their homes."


As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

?
Statement - Senate tax cuts take Texas in the wrong direction

February 24, 2015

As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.

Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:


“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”


Coverage: Tax Cut Proposals Divide Senate Democrats (Texas Observer)


As part of a larger tax cut package, Senator Jane Nelson announced $1.5 billion in cuts to the franchise (margins) tax in a press conference today with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. These business tax cuts include a rate reduction and an increase in the existing exemption for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts to $4 million. Seven out of eight businesses who might otherwise be covered by the franchise tax currently pay nothing.
Will Francis, Texas Forward Steering Committee Co-Chair and Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter, released the following statement:
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. The Senate tax cut proposals reduce businesses’ investment in the very services that businesses and families need to thrive.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Statement - State of the State priorities at odds with new business tax cuts

February 17, 2015
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

I

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”

Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

n his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.
In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.
 
The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:
 
“For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success.”
Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

In his State of the State address this morning, Governor Greg Abbott highlighted early education, higher education, transportation funding, and border security as high priorities for this legislative session. Yet the governor called for $2 billion in business tax cuts and also suggested even more restrictions to state spending, undermining our ability to invest in schools, health care, and other vital state services at a level that meets current needs and prepares us for future challenges.

The Texas Forward revenue coalition released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s remarks:

"For Texas to prosper, we all need to share the responsibility for supporting our public priorities. Texas families and businesses are counting on state leaders to make the investments necessary to provide world-class public schools, affordable access to higher education, and the other fundamentals of economic success."


Governor Abbott has previously pledged to veto the state budget if it does not include significant business tax cuts.

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.

While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Statement - Governor’s dream of a brighter future for Texas will require sustainable revenue system

January 20, 2015
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:


“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.”

The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition released the following statement in response to the governor’s remarks at this morning’s inauguration ceremony:
“To secure the promise of Texas invoked by Governor Abbott in his inaugural address, state leaders will need to demonstrate long-term vision and leadership. Texas Forward calls on the governor to keep our state strong by prioritizing investments in the people of Texas over calls for tax giveaways to special interests.

While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Statement - Revenue estimate reveals high stakes for tax cut debate
January 12, 2015

With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads

Today the new Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar issued a revenue estimate of $113 billion in general revenue for the 2016-2017 biennium. Lawmakers will have enough available General Revenue to fund a "current services" budget that takes into account cost growth and make overdue increases in education and other areas, but only by placing the needs of Texans first in the coming budget and tax debate. The Steering Committee of the Texas Forward coalition issued the following statement.


“The available revenue forecast by the Comptroller gives lawmakers the opportunity to prioritize meaningful investments in the people of Texas instead of handing our tax dollars to special interests seeking tax giveaways. Legislators will need to make smart choices to ensure sustainable and adequate revenue sources that protect our long term prosperity.”


While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
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Guest Blog - A State Budget that Puts Texas First

This post first appeared on the Coalition for Texans with Disabilities Advocacy Blog on January 12, 2015

With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads

"When we’re bombarded by anti-tax rhetoric, it can be easy to forget that the taxes we pay support the services Texas businesses and families depend on each day. From hospitals and roads to schools and libraries, taxes play a big part in determining our quality of life. When you take into account that many state agencies from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to the Texas Department of Transportation are unable to keep up with the growing demand for services at current levels of funding, the idea of new tax giveaways seems even less responsible..."


While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

Texas Forward OpEd - Transportation Amendment Symptom of Crisis in State Funding 

This OpEd first appeared in the Austin-American Statesman on November 19, 2014

With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads
"With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes..."

While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.
With the November elections behind us and the 84th legislative session looming, the debate over the next budget is well underway. Lawmakers have a clear choice before them: Continue with business as usual, or take the opportunity to make meaningful investments in our state. Members of Texas Forward, a coalition representing more than 60 organizations from across Texas, will be watching to see if this Legislature will work to find real solutions to our ongoing funding woes.
While it’s certainly true that Texas needs to be investing more to maintain and improve our physical infrastructure, Texas’ human infrastructure is also in need of some serious attention. As Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey noted in a 2013 article about the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to convert some roads to gravel, “Other state programs have their equivalents of the gravel roads. They’re just not allowed to talk about it.”
Consider Proposition 1, just passed by Texas voters earlier this month. Prop. 1 is a constitutional amendment that will divert more than $1 billion of revenue that would otherwise flow into the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) into the State Highway Fund. It’s not the $4 billion our highway system really needs, but it’s better than ignoring problems with our roads.
But Prop. 1 is really a symptom of an outdated revenue system that can no longer keep pace with the needs of 26 million Texans. The 83rd Legislature punted the highway funding decision to voters rather than take the political risk of appropriating the money from the rainy day fund outright, finding new sources of revenue to fund roads or voting to bust the spending cap.
Taking into account Texas’ rapid population growth and inflation, the current budget doesn’t keep up with our state’s needs. We spend less per-pupil than before the recession, and legislators undershot general revenue Medicaid funding by nearly $1 billion. Yet there are still calls for tax cuts on top of the $1 billion in giveaways passed by lawmakers last session.
Imagine if Texans voted to allocate the same resources to human infrastructure that they have to roads and water projects. What if $1 billion were used to increase the reimbursement rate for Texas social service providers, financial aid for college students, or in workforce development to improve the competitiveness of Texas workers? An investment of $1 billion would go a long way toward providing the additional funds needed to provide full-day universal pre-kindergarten in Texas. It could help reduce CPS caseloads to improve child safety.
Texans deserve quality education, healthy communities and economic opportunity, and our lawmakers can deliver if they choose to. Even with Prop. 1’s highway fund diversion, the Economic Stabilization Fund will weigh in at more than $8 billion come 2015. Members of the 84th Legislature should use this vast resource, resist destabilizing tax cuts and recognize and reject legislation that only robs Peter to pay Paul. They will have a chance to make the investments now to keep our state strong in the future by finding sustainable, adequate sources of funding not only for our highways but also for our schools, our hospitals, our parks and all the other public services in Texas that sure enough have their equivalents of gravel roads.

ABOUT TEXAS FORWARD:


TEXAS FORWARD is a coalition of organizations that believes Texans deserve strong, safe, and healthy communities, and the opportunity to realize their potential. The member organizations represent a broad spectrum of interests, but all believe that meeting the needs of Texans and moving our state forward to greater prosperity and opportunity will require more than just belt-tightening and cuts in education, healthcare and other vital public services.
Contact:
Mia Ibarra
512.823.2880
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