The center's work on state budget issues helps policy makers, advocates, the media, and the general public understand the effect that Texas' two-year budget will have on low- and moderate-income families.

Recent Budget Publications

The Texas Budget & Tax Primer (08/1/2002)

The "state budget" for Texas is the General Appropriations Act, which the Legislature must enact every two years in order for state government to continue operating.

2004-2005 Budget Cycle Now Underway (07/18/2002)

With the release of budget instructions on June 10th, the next two-year budget cycle for the State of Texas has officially begun. This Policy Page describes the significance of this first step in the budget process and what it means for programs and their clients, and alerts you to opportunities to comment on agencies' 2004-05 budget proposals for critical programs such as Medicaid-funded services; child care; eligibility worker staffing for Food Stamps, cash welfare, and health care programs; child protective services; and many more.

State Budget Update: Is It Raining Yet? (04/10/2002)

Many states are currently struggling with lower-than-anticipated revenue or increased costs for their fiscal 2002 budgets. This brief Policy Page answers some of the most commonly asked questions about Texas' state budget since the Legislature adjourned in May 2001 and explains why Texas may be better off in the short run, but worse in the long term.

Medicaid and State Budgets: A Case Study of Texas (03/1/2002)

Like most state governments, Texas has recently marked the end of several-year interlude during which slow Medicaid growth briefly suspended the program's image as a top state budget growth driver. Substantial caseload declines from 1996 to 2000 have now been replaced with a steady upward trend, matched with highly robust enrollment in the state's separate SCHIP program. With these trends afoot, it is helpful to pause and review Medicaid's place in Texas' state budget.

DHS Seeking Comments on Texas Works (02/20/2002)

On February 6, the Department of Human Services held a public hearing on the 2004-2005 budget needs of the Texas Works program. Interested advocates can find out more about this hearing in this brief Policy Page, which also contains information about how to submit written comments on Texas Works needs by February 25, 2002.

Why Talk of a CHIP Shortfall So Early? (01/17/2002)

Presumably, it was never the intent of the Legislature to under-fund CHIP. There is every indication that legislators believed they had adequately funded the program in May 2001. When SB 1, the appropriations act for Texas' 2002-2003 budget was adopted, there were no public discussions at all suggesting that freezing or capping CHIP enrollment was anticipated, despite the fact that the program was allocated $14 million state dollars (general revenue: GR) less than had been requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC asked stakeholders in August for input on CHIP cost-cutting approaches, but indicated that the information was for long-term planning rather than any nearterm concern. In October 2001, there was statewide press coverage when increased premium rates for CHIP health plans were negotiated. Nowhere in the discussion of these increases by state agency staff or Legislators was there any mention of a threat to cap or freeze CHIP enrollment.

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