Many Texans are poor, not because they don't work, but because their work pays too little to raise a family out of poverty. To ensure economic prosperity, Texas public policy must support work, make work pay, and help families build their assets. The most important thing the state can do to enhance economic opportunity is to invest in public education—from early childhood education all the way through higher education.

Recent Economic Opportunity Publications

Welfare, Workforce and the 77th Legislature (08/8/2001)

This Policy Page discusses the problem of inadequate funding for the Choices program and reports on the welfare and workforce bills enacted during the 77th Legislative Session.

Child Care and the 77th Legislature (06/29/2001)

The 77th Texas Legislature passed several child care bills this session. However, the big stories remain the continued underfunding of child care for working poor families within the state budget and looming growth in the state's waiting list of 41,000 children.

Child Care Funding Could Fall Short (05/11/2001)

With House-Senate state budget conferees about ready to wrap up work on Senate Bill 1, the Appropriations Act for 2002-03, final funding for child care will soon be known. This Policy Page explains why more state and federal funds for child care are needed to continue serving working poor families, and provides links to proposed legislation that would affect child care in Texas.

More Funding Proposed for Economic Development (04/4/2001)

This Policy Page describes how the House and Senate propose to increase economic development program spending in 2002 and 2003 and discusses legislation that would improve the state's funding of development programs by creating an integrated economic development budget.

Uneven Growth in the New Economy (03/28/2001)

While the 1990s brought a period of sustained growth for the Texas economy, not all Texans enjoyed equally in the benefits of this growth. Texas saw a growing gap in the incomes of its residents during the 1990s. Generally, while upper-middle and upper-income Texans experienced an increase in the real value of their incomes, middle and low-income Texans saw their real incomes stagnate.

Proposed Legislation Would Make Work Pay (03/26/2001)

Two popular myths endure about Texas' poor. One is that most poor people don't work and don't want to work. The second is that work will raise these families out of poverty. Research conducted by the Center for Public Policy Priorities shows that these myths do not correspond with reality. Of the 3 million poor Texans, about 2 million have at least one working adult in their household. Moreover, the problem of poverty despite work is greater in Texas than in most other states. Bills to raise the state minimum wage or to require government contractors to pay a living wage offer one set of solutions to this problem.

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