ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY


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

Texas Jobs Snapshot for 2012 (12/5/2012)

"What we need are good jobs that pay us a living wage, provide health benefits, and allow us to build assets. And what businesses really need are customers. They hire when we are buying more. Our policies should encourage growth in good jobs that provide ALL of us the opportunity to be productive Texans." ­— Don Baylor, Senior Policy Analyst

Testimony: Senate Committee on Business and Commerce (10/12/2012)

The center delivered written testimony to the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce on Oct. 9. on limiting the payday loan and auto title loan fee amount and how many times the fee can be charged.

New Texas Poverty and Uninsured Numbers Make the Path Forward Clear (09/12/2012)

CPPP on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey:

“We are encouraged by the Census Bureau’s preliminary report that more Texans have the security of health insurance coverage. The data show the overall uninsured rate slightly improved thanks to the Affordable Care Act."

“But U.S. Census Bureau data show the number of Texans living in poverty remains stubbornly high and unacceptable."

Testimony: Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (09/12/2012)

The center testified before the House Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services on payday and auto title lending. Speaking on behalf of the Texas Fair Lending Alliance, the center expressed concern over the affordability of payday and auto title loans in Texas.

Testimony: Combating the Student Loan Burden (09/11/2012)

The center submitted written testimony on the Senate Higher Education Committee interim charges exploring student financial aid and the issue of student loan debt Texas institutions of higher education.

The Cost of College: How Texas Students and Families are Financing College Education (09/11/2012)

Click here for a link to access the presentation and audio recording from our College Financial Aid Policy Webinar.

Financial aid enables thousands of Texans with limited financial resources to pursue postsecondary education, but need-based grant aid is under attack at state and federal levels. With new restrictions on need-based aid coupled with state budget cutbacks, financial aid rationing threatens college access, persistence, and success for a young and growing population in Texas.

Understanding U.S. Census Bureau Data on Poverty and Uninsured (09/10/2012)

How Texas families fare when it comes to poverty and health care coverage affects the strength and overall physical and fiscal climate of our state. The Current Population Survey (CPS) and American Community Survey (ACS) data being released this month provide a picture of where Texas stacks up against others, giving us a sense of what it really takes for Texas families to get by, get ahead, and create a productive life for their children.

Texas Funding for Schools Much Lower Than Before Recession (09/4/2012)

In response to the Great Recession, the Legislature chose to make extensive cuts to school funding instead of using the Rainy Day Fund to protect Texas school children, putting the state’s economy and long-term prosperity in jeopardy.

State and local funding for preK-12 education is 11.2 percent below 2008 levels in Texas after adjusting for student growth and inflation, according to a report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.

Savings Soars: OpportunityTexas’ Tax-Time Savings Project Triples Impact from Last Year (08/20/2012)

The OpportunityTexas Tax-Time Savings Project (TSP) " a partnership with the United Ways of Texas and Foundation Communities " aims to increase household savings and reduce asset poverty. TSP provides modest incentives to clients who get their taxes prepared at Volunteer Income Assistance (VITA) sites to encourage them to save a portion of their tax refunds by purchasing at least one U.S. Savings Bond. As a result of our partnerships promoting savings at tax time, the number of VITA savers has soared. The numbers of savers tripled and the amount saved quadrupled from last year.

Texans Support Protections for Payday and Auto Loan Borrowers (06/21/2012)

New poll results released today show that Texans support legislation to protect payday and auto loan borrowers from high interest rates and fees. The majority of those registered Texas voters polled want more state regulations on this issue, and the center is committed to helping protect consumers from crippling debt. The center joins more than three dozen other organizations that represent consumers, financial institutions, low-income communities, and the elderly, in forming the Texas Fair Lending Alliance to push for new state laws to control high-cost lending and protect the borrower.

Testimony: Student Success in Texas Higher Education (06/20/2012)

On Wednesday, June 20, Policy Analyst Leslie Helmcamp submitted written testimony on the Senate Higher Education Committee interim charges exploring student barriers to college success, the use of technology in college courses, and developmental education programs at Texas institutions of higher education.

Texas Regional Opportunity Index: Midland (06/11/2012)

Over the past decade, Midland enjoyed population and employment growth at rates faster than the state average. Despite concerns about a “boom and bust” cycle, Midland’s economy and employment fell only in tandem with the past two national recessions (2001-02, 2008-09). The economy remains heavily shaped by Midland’s natural resources"with about 37 cents for every dollar in private sector wages being earned in the Natural Resources & Mining supersector; statewide, the average is about six cents of every dollar.

Nearly 25,000 Texans to Lose Unemployment Insurance this Saturday (05/11/2012)

Texas is among eight other states getting hit by cuts to the federal unemployment insurance (UI) program on Saturday. Nearly 25,000 Texans will be cut off from federal UI tomorrow, leaving more Texas families without needed assistance while the economy recovers.

State Board of Education Approves Financial Literacy for Math Curriculum (04/23/2012)

“CPPP applauds the State Board of Education for approving robust curriculum standards for the new statutory requirement (SB 290) that financial literacy be incorporated into the K-8 grade math curriculum. The standards, which include content about the connection between educational attainment and earnings, along with instruction about financial preparation for postsecondary education, will help Texas students become more financially capable adults.”

Testimony: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (04/3/2012)

On Tuesday, April 3, OpportunityTexas Project Coordinator Laura Rosen presented testimony before the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services about the positive developments for consumers resulting from the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The Center Has a New Home! (04/1/2012)

The center has officially moved to our new home on North Lamar! Our new address is 7020 Easy Wind Drive, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78752.

Comment: Sunset Staff Report of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (03/21/2012)

The center along with four other groups that work to improve college access and success in Texas submitted comments to Ken Levine, director of the Sunset Advisory Commission, on his agency's review of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and to offer additional proposals to strengthen our state’s higher education system.

Texas Saves Week: Saving Up (02/22/2012)

This week Texas is one of many states celebrating America Saves Week, a campaign to promote personal savings and encourage individuals to take responsibility for their finances. America Saves works with state and local partners to raise awareness about the importance of saving and helps low- and moderate income individuals open savings accounts. Having savings is key for low-income families to move up to the middle class.

One in Two Texans Has Almost No “Rainy Day” Savings to Bank On (01/31/2012)

In Texas today, 27.7 percent of households are “asset poor,” meaning they have little or no financial cushion to rely on if unemployment or another emergency leads to a loss of income, according to a report from the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). Excluding important assets such as a vehicle or home, the (liquid) asset poverty rate increases to 50.6 percent of Texas residents.

City of Austin Triples OpportunityTexas Tax-Time Savings Project (01/18/2012)

OpportunityTexas, a joint project of CPPP and RAISE Texas working to expand economic opportunity through education and asset building, is entering its second year of promoting savings at community tax centers by providing incentives for low-income filers to save a portion of their tax refunds.

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