BUDGET


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

Undermining the Texas Economy: The 2012-13 Texas State Budget (12/19/2011)

This report analyzes our state’s new budget, focusing on areas that are especially important to low- and moderate-income Texans. The report looks at both “General Revenue” spending (revenue that is primarily from state taxes) and “All Funds” spending (which also includes federal revenue, general revenue that is statutorily dedicated to a specific program, and “Other” legally earmarked revenue such as State Highway or Property Tax Relief funds).

Statement on Comptroller's Revised Revenue Estimate (12/13/2011)

Senior Fiscal Analyst Dick Lavine on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts revised revenue estimate released yesterday.

“To meet the needs of all Texans for education"the proven path to better jobs"and health and human services"vital protection for Texas families"our state must reform its out-of-date revenue system."

Statement: CPPP Urges Texas Congressional Delegation to Vote Against Extreme Balanced Budget Amendment Coming to the Floor Next Week (11/11/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Statement on Reducing the Federal Deficit (10/7/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown regarding what should be done by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “supercommittee”). The Budget Control Act requires the committee to propose by October 14 a way to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

“For the good of the country, the committee needs to succeed. But success requires a balanced package that combines selected revenue increases with careful spending cuts. A cuts-only approach would devastate low- and moderate-income Americans because it would mean severe cuts in critical areas like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

“Our state would be among those hit hardest by a cuts-only approach because we have so many low-income families. Doing nothing would also be hard on Texas because it would trigger automatic cuts, including to defense. Texas benefits from significant federal spending, including from military bases and defense contracting. Most important, though, is that doing nothing would leave the country with an unsustainable imbalance between revenue and spending."

The 2012-13 Budget for Child Protective Services: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (06/9/2011)

In a brutal budget session, child protective services (CPS) fared better than most state services for 2012-13. The proposed rate cuts for foster care and adoption payments were not implemented and some caseload growth for these programs was funded. At this funding level, CPS hopes to move forward with its proposal to redesign foster care to help children move to permanency faster. With the budget, CPS can actually start hiring new staff to work with children and families at the start of state fiscal year 2012. Finally, funding for families services was maintained at 2010-11 levels.

But the overall budget for CPS is 10 percent less than what CPS estimated it needed for the biennium to help families affected by child abuse and neglect. Caseload growth for family services was not funded and statewide intake staff, adoption services, and child abuse and neglect prevention programs were cut. The specifics are discussed below.

How to Improve School Finance Plan on the House Floor (06/7/2011)

At the end of the regular session, the Legislature was poised to pass SB 1811, a fiscal matters bill that included rewriting the state’s school finance laws, when the clock ran out. Because the Legislature underfunded schools in the state budget by $4 billion from what current law says schools need to meet the state’s educational goals, the Legislature now must devise a new school finance plan to determine how much each school district is to receive.

On Thursday, when it takes up SB 1, the House will again confront the question of how to distribute $4 billion in cuts to schools. SB 1 is essentially SB 1811 all over again. Based upon discussions in the House Appropriations Committee, we anticipate several floor amendments to SB 1 that would significantly improve this legislation and set the stage for progress in the next session. In this short paper, we explain the problems in SB 1 and how they can be mitigated by floor amendments.

Statement on the State Budget for 2012-13 (05/26/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown released the following statement today in response to the budget committee conferees agreeing on the state budget for 2012-13.

“If the Legislature adopts this budget, the Legislature will have failed to meet the needs of Texas.

“The far right’s demand that our state’s revenue crisis be addressed by cuts alone instead of through a balanced approach that uses the Rainy Day Fund and adds new revenue has forced damaging cuts to essential state services. For the present biennium, 2010-11, the state’s general revenue budget totals $90 billion (roughly $82 billion in state general revenue and $8 billion in federal recovery dollars). To provide the same public services in 2012-13, because of more people and higher costs, the Legislature would have to spend at least $99 billion in general revenue. The conferees’ budget deal (with HB 4) would appropriate just under $80.7 billion, leaving the state short more than $18 billion"about $5 billion of which would have gone to public education.

“A balanced approach was the better choice."

CPPP on School Finance (05/23/2011)

As the session draws to a close, the Legislature must make adjustments in the state’s school finance plan because the Legislature is underfunding current law by close to $4 billion. In essence, the Legislature must determine how to distribute $4 billion in cuts to school districts.

At this point, the vehicle for making changes is Senate Bill (SB) 1581, which Representative Aycock is carrying in the House. Earlier the Senate amended SB 1581 to include SB 22 by Senator Shapiro, commonly called the Hybrid Plan. Now the House must decide whether to keep Shapiro’s Hybrid Plan or amend SB 1581 by replacing the Hybrid Plan with either the Hochberg plan (which eliminates Target Revenue but keeps all program weights the same as current law) or the Eissler pro-ration amendment (an across-the-board cut to Target Revenue).

CPPP urges House members to adopt the Hochberg plan as the principled way to distribute $4 billion in cuts and as the best way to ensure adequate support for public education in years ahead.

Statement on Fiscal Matters and Revenue Estimate (05/18/2011)

“Today the House takes up fiscal matter bills that will determine whether the Legislature can write a budget in the 12 days remaining in the session.The House should encourage its budget conferees to accept the Senate budget, and the House should make the money available to do so through the fiscal matters bills.

“While the Comptroller’s new revenue estimate makes $1.2 billion more available, the conference committee needs that money plus everything in the fiscal matters bills to fund the Senate budget, allowing the Legislature to minimize damaging cuts to public education, higher education, and health and human services.

“At the end of the day, if the House remains short of revenue to fund the Senate budget, we again call on the House to use more of the Economic Stabilization Fund. The Comptroller’s new revenue estimate forecasts another $300 million available for appropriation, and knowledgeable experts suggests that the fund may grow even more. We urge the House to be open to using the Rainy Day Fund to close a budget deal.”

CPPP Sums Up the Case for Using the Rainy Day Fund for 2012-13 (05/18/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown sums up the case for using the Rainy Day Fund for 2012-13:

“Texans aren’t supposed to protect the Rainy Day Fund. The Rainy Day Fund is supposed to protect Texans. Voters created the Rainy Day Fund by constitutional amendment in 1988 to offset unforeseen falls in state revenue just like the state faces now. The Legislature should use the Rainy Day Fund to bridge the revenue hole created by the Great Recession."

Budget Bills Short on Health Care for Texans (05/12/2011)

The Texas House and Senate have adopted two different budget bills, and a conference committee has begun to work out a compromise budget.

Both chambers provide less money for Texas health and human services than was budgeted in 2010-2011. But the Senate’s version of the budget provides substantially more money for health care and social services than the House version.

Open Letter to Budget Conferees and Action Alert (05/11/2011)

The House and Senate have each appointed members to the conference committee that will write the final state budget. We urge you to contact the conferees and ask them to write the best possible budget for Texas. CPPP is urging the conferees to at least write a budget as good as the Senate budget.

Budget Reality Check (05/5/2011)

Two years ago, several groups sent a letter to the Texas Legislature urging the Legislature to save the Rainy Day Fund “to address future potential shortfalls as a consequence of the current economic downturn.” Now the same groups have sent a letter to the Texas Senate opposing the use of the Rainy Day Fund to address the current $27 billion shortfall caused in large part by the economic downturn.

These groups have lost touch with reality.The agenda of these extremists is not to save the Rainy Day Fund but to permanently reduce state spending in service to their agenda of ever lower taxes. Instead of pretending otherwise, these groups should just say what they really mean"they don’t care.

Statement on the Senate's State Budget for 2012-13 (05/4/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown's statement in response to the Senate adopting its version of the state budget for 2012-13.

List of $30 Billion in Revenue Options (05/3/2011)

A list of potential new revenue to balance a state budget.

Budget Reality Check (05/3/2011)

Two years ago, several groups sent a letter to the Texas Legislature urging the Legislature to save the Rainy Day Fund "to address future potential shortfalls as a consequence of the current economic downturn." Now the same groups have sent a letter to the Texas Senate opposing the use of the Rainy Day Fund to address the current $27 billion shortfall caused in large part by the economic downturn.

These groups have lost touch with reality.The agenda of these extremists is not to save the Rainy Day Fund but to permanently reduce state spending in service to their agenda of ever lower taxes. Instead of pretending otherwise, these groups should just say what they really mean"they don't care.

Overview of the Senate Budget Proposal (CSHB 1) for 2012-13 (05/3/2011)

The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) proposed budget for 2012-13 would reduce All Funds and General Revenue support for state services by 5% compared to 2010-11 (after including a $2 billion delayed Foundation School Program payment and $3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund). In a state that is already near the bottom in state spending per resident, the implications of these reductions are even worse when Texas's growing population and rising health care costs are taken into account. In "current services" terms, the SFC budget proposes General Revenue cuts of 13% overall, and would leave billions of federal dollars for health care and other social services unmatched.

CPPP Statement on Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Senate Finance Committee's Proposed State Budget (04/27/2011)

(AUSTIN, Texas)─Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown released the following statement today in response to comments made yesterday by Lt. Governor Dewhurst on the use of the Rainy Day Fund by the Senate Finance Committee in its version of the state budget for 2012-13.

“One week ago today we applauded Lt. Governor Dewhurst and the Senate Finance Committee for their valiant attempt to write the best state budget possible given the Great Recession and the political climate. Yesterday in comments to the press, however, the Lt. Governor disavowed the committee budget saying he “disagreed” with the committee’s use of the Rainy Day Fund.

“Unfortunately there is no path to an acceptable budget that does not use billions more from the Rainy Day Fund. In light of Lt. Governor Dewhurst’s position, we turn from applause to jeers. We urge every Senator to vote no to bring the budget up for debate. If the budget comes up for debate, we urge every Senator to vote no. There is no reason to support a budget that the Lt. Governor won’t help defend in conference.

“Unless the Lt. Governor and the Speaker make a decision to stand up to the Governor and to the far right, we see no good outcome to our state’s budget struggle.

“We urge Texans to call upon Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus to disavow the know-nothings trying to wreck Texas and to provide the leadership Texas needs to cope with the aftermath of the Great Recession.”

Testimony: SB 68 Strengthens State Contracting Practices (04/26/2011)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities supports Senate Bill (SB) 68, which would establish sensible contracting standards to ensure that state agencies make informed decisions when outsourcing state services or assets. We want to thank Senator Zaffirini for her hard work in developing this comprehensive approach to strengthening state contracting practices. SB 68 establishes the same standards for business analysis and planning that you would use in your own company to get the most out of outsourcing. We urge you to pass this legislation today.

Statement on Senate Finance Committee’s Proposed State Budget for 2012-13 (04/20/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown released a statement in advance of the Senate Finance Committee voting this week on its version of the state budget for 2012-13.

How is Your County Affected by the State Budget? (04/16/2011)

Below is CPPP's county-by-county analysis of the 2012-13 state budget for major essential services, such as health and human services, public education, and higher education.

Testimony: House Bill 13 Strips Medicaid Protections from Most Vulnerable Texans (04/14/2011)

House Bill 13 by House Public Health Committee Chairman Lois Kolkhorst would direct The Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner to seek a “waiver” of federal law to dramatically restructure the Texas Medicaid program. In laying out the Committee Substitute for her bill, Chairman Kolkhorst identified a recent Rhode Island “1115 waiver” as a model for what Texas might seek. CPPP testified in opposition to the bill. Our testimony details our objection to overly broad terms of the bill that do not give any guarantee of protections for current beneficiaries, covered populations and services. We detail a list of specific provisions which would prevent the concept from being workable in Texas without substantial additional changes to Texas law and protections for Medicaid’s vulnerable population of children, seniors, Texans with disabilities, and expectant mothers.

Statement on House's Proposed State Budget: Refusing to Use the Rainy Day Fund for 2012-13 Is Unconscionable (04/3/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to the House passing House Bill 1, its proposed state budget for 2012-13.

CPPP Defends LBB Dynamic Model of Proposed Budget from Attack by TTARA (03/30/2011)

On March 29, 2011, Dale Craymer of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association wrote Chairman Pitts criticizing the Legislative Budget Board’s dynamic impact statement for Committee Substitute House Bill (CSHB) 1, suggesting that it is not a useful tool for evaluating the proposed budget. In fact, the dynamic impact statement is a very useful tool and suggests that an alternative that takes a balanced approach using rainy day dollars and adding new revenue is preferable to CSHB 1. As we explain briefly in this letter, spending rainy day dollars from the Economic Stabilization Fund to avoid cuts in state spending is a way to increase revenue without a tax increase, and there are other ways to increase revenue that are better for the economy than cutting state spending.

Top 5 Reasons to Reject CSHB 1— Proposed Budget for 2012-13 (03/29/2011)

On Friday, April 1, 2011, the House is scheduled to debate and vote on the Appropriation Committee’s proposed state budget for 2012-13, officially the Committee Substitute to House Bill (CSHB) 1. We have prepared a short summary of the top five reasons to reject CSHB 1.

Analysis and Charts on the House Appropriation Committee’s Budget Proposal for 2012-13 (03/25/2011)

The House Appropriation Committee’s proposed budget for 2012-13 would reduce total funding for state services by 12 percent compared to 2010-11, and by 14 percent for the General Revenue part of the budget. In a state that is already near the bottom in state spending per resident, the implications of cuts are even worse when Texas’s growing population and rising health care costs are taken into account.

CPPP Urges Rejection of House Bill (HB) 1 and Support for HB 4 and HB 275 (03/24/2011)

Executive Director F. Scott McCown made a statement in response to the House Appropriations Committee recommendation of House Bill (HB) 1, the proposed state budget for 2012-13; HB 4, which would revise the state budget for 2011; and HB 275, which would appropriate $3.2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to fund 2011 appropriations.

Statement on Governor Rejecting Use of Rainy Day Fund for 2012-13 (03/15/2011)

F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to the Governor’s claim that he will not sign a 2012-13 budget that uses any of the $6.2 billion remaining in the Rainy Day Fund after using $3.2 billion to cover the 2011 deficit.

CPPP Writes Tea Party Advisory Committee (02/28/2011)

CPPP addresses the Tea Party Advisory Committee about why spending all the Rainy Day Fund is the right thing to do.

Using the Rainy Day Fund to Ensure our Recovery and Prosperity (02/21/2011)

Texas faces a devastating revenue shortfall. We are about $18 billion short of being able to maintain spending at its current level and at least $27 billion short of being able to maintain services at their current level. Whichever way you look at it, we face a larger revenue shortfall than during the last recession in 2003 and even larger than during the global energy price collapse in the 1980s.

A cuts-only approach to dealing with a shortfall this large would undermine our economic recovery and threaten our future prosperity. Instead, we need a balanced approach, one that includes using our Rainy Day Fund to minimize damaging cuts to critical public services such as education. As part of a balanced approach,the Rainy Day Fund can cover about a third of the shortfall. This paper explains how the fund works and why it should be used.

Overiew of HB 1 and SB 1 as Introduced (02/18/2011)

The proposed budgets do not begin to meet the needs of Texas, as this new analysis from CPPP shows. CPPP provides (1) an overview of House Bill (HB) 1, (2) an overview of Senate Bill (SB) 1, and (3) a comparison of the current budget, HB 1, SB 1, and the cost of current services.

Proposed Medicaid Cuts More Than Seven Times Deeper Than 2003 (02/16/2011)

Medicaid funding proposed in HB l is estimated by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) as falling $18 billion (All Funds) below the amount need to maintain current benefits, provider fees, and eligibility standards. This underfunding would be more than 7 times the depth of the disastrous 2003 Medicaid and CHIP cuts. While delivery reforms and best practices can and should be aggressively implemented, the best program improvements combined cannot achieve savings anywhere near the $7.6 billion GR shortfall. The Legislature should begin immediately looking for ways to mitigate the damage to our state’s most vulnerable through a balanced approach to balancing the budget that looks to savings and new revenues, not a cuts-only approach.

Governor’s State of the State Unrealistic; We Need a Balanced Approach to Meeting the Needs of Texas (02/8/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown gave the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State address today to a joint session of the House and Senate.

“When the Governor signed the current budget into law, after using his line-item veto to cut everything he considered unnecessary, the Governor assured Texans we had a lean budget that targeted our priorities, saying: ‘We worked collectively throughout the session to ensure our state’s priorities were met while remembering that every dollar spent is that of a hard-working Texan.’

“Now we are $27 billion short of being able to fund these very same priorities at the same lean level over the next two years. With a revenue shortfall this large, the Governor needs to be realistic and the Legislature needs to take a balanced approach that includes using all the Rainy Day Fund and adding new revenue."

Proposed Texas Children's Budget for 2012-2013 (02/3/2011)

A brief analysis focusing on House Bill 1’s proposed 13 percent overall cut (from 2010-11 levels) to services that primarily benefit children. Much of the decrease is due to the failure to restore General Revenue to services that were temporarily supported in 2010-11 by federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

CPPP Appeals to Business Leaders in Letter by Former Lt. Governor Hobby and CPPP's McCown (01/31/2011)

In a letter sent Tuesday, February 1, 2011, to the chairs of the board of directors and the president/CEOs of approximately 500 chambers of commerce in Texas, former Lt. Governor William P. Hobby and CPPP Executive Director F. Scott McCown urge business leaders to help address a challenge facing Texas that imperils our economic recovery and future prosperity"how to cope with a devastating state revenue shortfall.

A Call to Action to the Superintendents of Texas (01/27/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown issued the following call to action to the superintendents of Texas.

"We have no reason for pessimism but pessimism itself.

"Texas can meet the challenge of our state’s revenue crisis, which has left us at least $27 billion, or 27 percent, short of being able to provide services at their current level, but doing so requires a balanced approach that includes using all of our Rainy Day Fund and adding new revenue. In a democracy"where the most important election is always the next election"if citizens demand a balanced approach, the Legislature will take a balanced approach. All that stands between us and a pragmatic response to this crisis is the sort of pessimism that leads to doing nothing."

Proposed State Budget Shows Need for a Balanced Approach to Meeting Needs of Texas (01/18/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to the proposed House budget bill released late today.

“Late today the proposed House budget bill was released. The proposed budget is merely a starting point for hearings and debate leading to the official state budget, but we already know that the cuts-only approach taken in the proposed bill would hurt Texas families, cost us jobs, and undermine our economic recovery."

Statement From F. Scott McCown on the Comptroller's Revenue Estimate (01/10/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to today’s release of the biennial revenue estimate by the Comptroller.

“Today the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts delivered her constitutionally required biennial revenue estimate. While she projects continuing economic recovery, her forecast shows a $4.3 billion deficit in the current budget and only $5 billion more in General Revenue for the upcoming two fiscal years than in the current biennium adjusted for the deficit. When increased population and higher costs are taken into account, Texas is at least $26.8 billion short of the General Revenue needed to provide for current services into the next biennium. In other words, we are short by at least 25 percent.

Texas Tsunami: Falling Revenues, Rising Needs Mean Proposed Budget Cuts Just the First Wave (01/3/2011)

Texas is suffering from a devastating collapse in revenues. State leaders order cuts to spending, even while Texans’ needs grow. Throughout 2010, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and House Speaker have asked state agencies to propose a series of reductions to General Revenue (GR) spending─5 percent in 2010-11, 10 percent in 2012-13, and most recently, on December 7, 2010, an additional 2.5 percent cuts for 2011. Because state sales taxes and other tax collections have only recently started to grow compared to the previous year, state leaders expect the current budget to end with a $3 to $4 billion revenue shortfall. Combine this with growing needs, falling local property values, and uncertainty about the 2012-13 biennial revenue estimate, and the revenue shortfall through 2013 could approach $25 to $30 billion.

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