Subject: TSEU Legislative Update: House moves Texas backward in budget bill
TEXAS STATE EMPLOYEES UNION / CWA LOCAL 6186
What can you do to stop the cuts and pressure lawmakers to do right by Texans
1. Come to the Save our State Rally on Wednesday, April 6th.
2. Get Organized! If you are member of the Union, become active. If you are not, join us and help us fight back these attacks on public services and state employees.
3. Call your legislators and tell them this budget doesn't reflect Texas values. Ask them to take a balanced approach to the budget that includes generating revenue and using the entire rainy day fund.
Join the TSEU urgent action network
It will not be over on April 6. The all-out struggle over the state budget and other issues will continue. One way to make a difference is to members all around the state who are ready to call/write/email legislators at a moment's notice. Ready to take part? Send an email to TSEU Legislative Director Derrick Osobase: Put "urgent action YES" in your subject line.
House moves Texas backward in budget bill
Recap of the Budget and how we got here
Texas entered the 82nd legislative session with an estimated shortfall of nearly $27 billion. Through a series of cuts in the supplemental bill (H.B. 4) and the decision to use $3.1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund (H.B. 275) last Thursday, the remaining shortfall has been lowered to about $24 billion for the coming biennium. While the shortfall is related to the reduced sales tax collection during the recession, it is not the sole contributing factor. A structural deficit that was created when the legislature passed a property tax cut it couldn't pay for in 2006 has led to a shortfall of $10 billion every biennium,
Tax exemptions for big Corporations untouched, while Republicans feast on the elderly, Texas students and the indigent
Debate on committee substitute to HB 1 began on Friday, April 1st; unfortunately it wasn't April fools on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. The Republican majority chose to cut deep, and threatening the infrastructure of Texas by reducing funding by 21% to public education and higher education, eliminating the Texas Grants financial aid program for incoming college students and reducing nursing homes' funding by 33%. Some estimates have up to 80 % of the nursing homes in Texas closing due to the cuts. The Legislative Budget Board (the state's non-partisan body that analyzes the budget and its impact) also estimates that this budget would eliminate over 355,000 public and private sector jobs in the next two years.
State agencies that deliver crucial services took big hits to their budget for the next two years. These cuts most certainly will negatively affect agencies abilities to deliver quality and timely services to Texans.
Medicaid is by far the largest health care program in the state. It accounts for over 25% of the Texas budget. HB 1 cuts funding for Medicaid by $ 4.7 billion for FY 2010-11 levels, and is $13.7 billion shy of requested funding to account for enrollment growth and cost increases. Texas already ranks 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid, barely offering the basic services to those eligible.
Other cuts in HB 1 assume that two state hospitals will be privatized. One State Supported Living Center will be closed, while funding for community services for those with intellectual disabilities are cut by 33%.
Programs Eliminated under HB1 for Public Education
* Pre-Kindergarten early start and early childhood school readiness grants
* Advanced Placement Incentive Program
* Texas Reading, Math and Science Initiatives
* Tuition Credit Program
* Library Resources
Community college employees currently receive funding at 83% of premium insurance rates. However because community college employees are considered local employees, rather than state employees, funding has been altered to match the local ISD rate of $75/month for each eligible employee.
Due to funding strategy change that took place in committee, HB 1 was changed from the original version directing the closure of 4 community colleges across the state to zero.
Overall funding for incarceration in the TDCJ budget has been reduced by 5.9%. This will result in significant staffing cuts, decreases in institutional security, and hinder the provision of appropriate physical and mental health care. HB1 also assumes the closure of the central unit in Sugarland, TX, which is anticipated to generate $31 million. But this will reduce the state's correctional capacity and will lead to more than 250 correctional jobs lost.
Parole supervision in the FY 2010-11 budget was directed to maintain a parole supervision ratio of no more than 75 releases per parole officer. This rider was deleted because reductions in HB 1 would make that ratio impossible to maintain. In HB 1 funding was restored for parole supervision, but the rider was not.
The cuts to TYC are substantial, and will result in the loss of about 500 jobs statewide. Also, HB 1 assumes up to 3 facilities closures.
The majority party played shell games all day on Friday targeting worthwhile initiatives that have proven to save the state money. Through the amendment process, Republicans purged funding from the Family Planning Program, which consults and provides medical treatment for women. Republicans such as Rep. Zerewas, the HHSC appropriations subcommittee chairmen talked highly of the program in committee, but said nothing when amendment after amendment was offered by his Republican colleagues stripping funding from this program. Ultimately, this left the program with just enough funds to pull down the federal match.
The majority party voted down many attempts by Democrats to attached amendments to HB1 that would lessen the severity of the cuts. Such as amendment 106 by Gallego; it would have appropriated more funding in fiscal year 2012 which would have averted cuts in that fiscal year allowing time for the economy to get better and adjust funding for 2nd year in a supplemental appropriations, this amendment was tabled by Republicans. Others like it also failed to make it on to the bill.
GOOD Amendments to HB 1
Amendment 31- Instructs the comptroller to conduct a tax preference study to evaluate and determine the purpose of each tax preference; make recommendations; and report conclusions of the study. The report will include a thorough explanation of each of the comptroller's recommendations and proposed legislation necessary to implement the findings of the study.
Amendment 33, by Burnam – Instructs the comptroller to conduct a study of the tax exemption or reduction in certain high cost gas. The study will include an estimate of the loss of revenue, an assessment of the intended purpose of the provision and whether the provision is achieving that objective and a recommendation for retaining, eliminating or amending the provision.
Amendment 34, by Gallego – The comptroller is required to prepare and transmit to each member of the legislature for each fiscal year of the 2012-2013 biennium a monthly report identifying the amount of collections of general revenue-related funds by source. The report will also include the cumulative amount of general revenue-related funds by source to date and the total amount estimated to be available for the fiscal year in the comptrollers January 2011 biennial revenue estimate for 2012-2013. If any changes or updates are made to the estimate, the monthly report must include the amount and source of the adjustment.
Amendment 35, by Villarreal – The amendment would require the comptroller to provide a revenue estimate to the legislature, which will include all materials traditionally in a biennial revenue estimate. During the past interim, it was evident that the state was facing a large budget shortfall, but the Legislature and the public were unable to prepare for the shortfall until the comptroller issued her BRE at the beginning of the session. Advance notice of the state of the state's finances allows legislators to plan ahead for future shortfalls
Amendment 51, by Turner – Sweeps $1.1 million from the Disability Issues strategy within the office of the Governor and redirects the funds to Intermediate Care Facilities-MR.
Amendment 53, by Turner – Redirects all funds for the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund to the Foundation School Program.
Amendment 54, by Y. Davis – Redirects all appropriations made to the Texas Enterprise Fund to the Student Success Initiative administered by TEA.
Amendment 55, by Marquez – Redirects $15,000,000 from the Texas Enterprise Fund to fund children's preventive health care in border areas.
Amendment 57, by Y. Davis – Reduces funding for the Texas Enterprise Fund by $90 million over the biennium. $60 million would go to the Texas Workforce Commission's Skills Development Program to train at least 15,000 additional workers, and $30 million would go to Employment and Community Services for public private partnership with employers.
Amendment 58, by Y. Davis – Adds a rider to C.S.H.B. No. 1 for the Trusted Programs within the office of the Governor which would prohibit expending funds in the Texas Enterprise Fund and require them to be immediately transferred to the employment and training investment holding fund.
Amendment 59, by Marquez – Dedicates $1,109,128 of funds appropriated for Economic Development and Tourism for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 to the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park.
Amendment 60, by Castro – Reduces funds for the Texas Emerging Technology fund by $70 million and redirects it to Early Childhood Intervention Services.
Amendment 61, by Castro – Reduces funds appropriated to the Texas Emerging Technology fund by $90,000,000 and redirects it to Student Financial Aid Programs. It further increases a rider dedication for Student Financial Aid Programs to the Tuition Equalization Grant Program to a new total of $107,308,202.
Amendment 91, by Crownover – Creates a rider in which DADS will require that prior to the transfer of an SSLC patient, the new care provider must certify to DADS that it can provide the treatment and care as specified in the resident's individualized treatment plan. Inserts a paragraph at the end of rider providing that DADS will monitor the health and wellbeing of the residents moved from the SSLC to community care following the closing of the SSLC. DADS is required to track the provision of health care for former residents and provide a report to the LBB and Governor by the last day of the fiscal year.
Amendment 92, by Kolkhorst – Creates a rider in which DADS will require that prior to the transfer of a State Supported Living Center (SSLC) patient, the new care provider must certify to DADS that it can provide the treatment and care as specified in the resident's individualized treatment plan. DADS would be required to track the provision of health care for former residents and maintain easily accessible records that document the health outcomes and mortality rates of these residents as well as cost saving realized per resident. States that, if a SSLC is closed, another cannot be closed until a health outcome/mortality study is completed and provided to the Legislature.
Amendment 94, by Naishtat – CONTINGENCY – Revenue generated upon the passage of HB 1317 -- or similar legislation that collects business and sales taxes from currently exempt online retailers based in Texas -- shall be appropriated to DADS for community attendant services.
Amendment 95, Naishtat – CONTINGENCY – Revenue generated upon the passage of HB 1317 -- or similar legislation that collects business and sales taxes from currently exempt online retailers based in Texas -- shall be appropriated to DADS, for primary home care.
Amendment 101 by Walle – Creates a rider requiring a report on the average hold time and call abandonment rate for Texans reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The rider states that the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) shall work toward reaching numerous performance targets, including: hold times that do not exceed eight minutes in length and a call abandonment rate that does not exceed 25%, and daily caseload targets for child protective and adult protective services caseworkers. (Passed)
BAD Amendments to HB 1
Amendment 377, by T. King – Provides that during the 2012-13 biennium a state agency may not fill a position of an employee that is vacant on, or becomes vacant after, September 1, 2011. It prohibits diverting funds from any other purpose for use for salary, wages, or benefits for any position. It directs the comptroller to deposit any unexpended money for salary, wages, or benefits back to the account from which the money was appropriated. It stipulates that a state agency only fill a vacant position if filling the position is necessary to prevent or help an emergency (Passed)
Amendment 371, by Paxton – Reduces the salary of persons under Salary Schedule A, B, C, or a person in a exempt position in the Dept. of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services who earn more than $60,000 by 5% for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The General Revenue Savings generated by this would be appropriated as follows: (1) an additional 10 million for fiscal year 2012 and for 2013 to the Early Childhood Intervention Program. (2) 3 million to the Autism Program for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, (3) Removes appropriation to the State Highway Fund No. 006 and increasing funds to the General Revenue funds to $5,938,292 for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. (Withdrawn- with strong Bi-Parisian Opposition/TSEU worked with legislators)
Amendment 375, by V. Taylor – Reduces the annual wages and salary appropriated for wages and salaries to each employee for fiscal year 2012 and 2013 by 5%. (Withdrawn with strong Bi-Parisian opposition/TSEU worked with legislators)
Amendment 376, - CONTINGENT RIDER on HB No. 2720 or similar legislation being enacted allowing the state to furlough employees, the money appropriated for employee wages and salaries for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 is reduced by amount equal to three days wages or salary for each employee. (Withdrawn- TSEU worked with legislators to kill this amendment)
Amendment 377 – Provides that during the 2012-13 biennium a state agency may not fill a position of an employee that is vacant on, or becomes vacant after, September 1, 2011. It prohibits diverting funds from any other purpose for use for salary, wages, or benefits for any position. It directs the comptroller to deposit any unexpended money for salary, wages, or benefits for an back to the account from which the money was appropriated. It stipulates that a state agency only fill a vacant position if filling the position is necessary to prevent or help an emergency. (Withdrawn)
Amendment 378, by Torres – Amends the number of FTEs in Riders to zero for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. (Withdrawal)
Amendment 38, by Raul Torres – The appropriations to the Employee Retirement System rider is amended by requiring that the system provide active and retired state employees in the Group Benefits Plan with an option to establish a health savings account in lieu of participation. Any savings that result from the optional establishment of health savings accounts by employees will be appropriated to the Texas Education Agency, Foundation School Program-Equalized Operations. Funds are already difficult to find in Texas, and appropriating dollars to an inefficient form of care is not prudent. . (Withdrawal- TSEU worked with legislators to kill this amendment)
In his speech in opposition to HB 1, Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio said "that he has never seen the type of fiscal cannibalism that took place on House floor in the years he's been there." The Republican majority chose Sunday evening to threaten the lives of the senior citizens of Texans and broke the promise to our Texas children to provide a quality and affordable education. The majority's approach to this budget went past political rhetoric of fiscal conservatism, it cut essential services to the most Texans in need, while protecting and fortifying the position of corporations and special interest groups. The refusal of the leadership and majority to use any of the rainy day fund or re-examining 30 year tax exemptions that can not be justified continuing under the state's current financial circumstance, only highlights the republicans' loyalties and priorities. And it is not to the citizens of Texas.
House Bill 1 Vote Count
Totals: 98 Yeas, 49 Nays, 2 Present, not voting
Yeas - Aliseda; Anderson, C.; Anderson, R.; Aycock; Beck; Berman; Bohac; Bonnen; Branch; Brown; Burkett; Button; Cain; Callegari; Carter; Chisum; Christian; Cook; Craddick; Creighton; Crownover; Darby; Davis, J.; Davis, S.; Driver; Eissler; Elkins; Fletcher; Flynn; Frullo; Garza; Geren; Gonzales, L.; Gooden; Hamilton; Hancock; Hardcastle; Harless; Harper-Brown; Hartnett; Hilderbran; Hopson; Howard, C.; Huberty; Hughes; Hunter; Isaac; Jackson; Keffer; King, P.; King, S.; Kleinschmidt; Kolkhorst; Kuempel; Landtroop; Larson; Laubenberg; Lavender; Legler; Lewis; Lyne; Madden; Margo; Miller, D.; Miller, S.; Morrison; Murphy; Nash; Orr; Otto; Parker; Patrick; Paxton; Perry; Phillips; Pitts; Price; Riddle; Ritter; Schwertner; Scott; Sheets; Sheffield; Shelton; Smith, T.; Smith, W.; Smithee; Solomons; Taylor, L.; Taylor, V.; Torres; Truitt; Weber; White; Woolley; Workman; Zedler; Zerwas
Nays - Alonzo; Alvarado; Anchia; Burnam; Castro; Coleman; Davis, Y.; Deshotel; Dukes; Dutton; Eiland; Farias; Farrar; Gallego; Giddings; Gonzales, V.; Gonzalez; Guillen; Gutierrez; Hernandez Luna; Hochberg; Howard, D.; Johnson; King, T.; Lozano; Lucio; Mallory Caraway; Marquez; Martinez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Menendez; Miles; Muñoz; Naishtat; Oliveira; Peña; Pickett; Quintanilla; Raymond; Reynolds; Rodriguez; Simpson; Strama; Thompson; Veasey; Villarreal; Vo; Walle
Present, not voting - Mr. Speaker(C); Turner
Absent, Excused - Allen
Disclaimer:This vote has not been certified by the House Journal Clerk. It is provided for informational purposes only. Once the vote is certified, it will be recorded in the journal according to Rule 5 of the House Rules and made available on this web site.
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