|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
How state budget cuts could effect San Jacinto County
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – Recently the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) released new analysis that shows the countyby- county effects of proposed budget cuts to Public Education, Higher Education and Human Services and Medicaid Spending Losses under House Bill 1. The state is at least $27 billion short of the money it needs to fund the services that it is funding now for 2012-13. CPPP has recommended a balanced approach to balancing the 2012- 13 budget that includes using all the Rainy Day Fund and adding new revenue. So far, the state legislature is considering a cuts-only approach. Using a cuts-only approach, education estimates in San Jacinto could reach $3.8 million in annual losses in Maintenance and Operations Revenue after HB1 cuts. Total potential job losses could reach 221 countywide in education, according to CPPP. Health and Human Service Funding in 2010-11 in San Jacinto County totaled $15.3 million. Under HB 1 the proposed cuts for 2012-13 could amount to $10.5 million, a 31 percent cut from 2010-11. A total of $6.6 million more is needed in San Jacinto County for current services in 2012-13, according to CPPP analysis by county, or 62.1 percent more. Major Heath and Human Services Programs include Medicaid Acute Care and nursing home funding, community care, public health and consumer protection programs, child and adult protective services, foster care/adoption, day care regulation, Early Childhood Intervention, vocational rehabilitation and federal disability determination. Medicaid losses in San Jacinto County could total $8.3 million for 2012-13. Medicaid spending in the county totaled $15.2 percent in 2009, according to CPPP analysis. On a statewide basis, the Senate’s proposed budget for the next two-year budget cycle would reduce total funding for state services by 15 percent compared to 2010-11 and by 10 percent for the General Revenue part of the budget. Bad as those cuts sound in a state that already ranks near the bottom in state spending per resident, the reduced funding levels are even worse when Texas’s growing population and rising health care costs are taken into account. In “current services” terms, the Senate budget proposes General Revenue cuts of 27 percent overall and would leave billions of federal dollars for health care and other social services unmatched, according to CPPP analysis. The $73.8 billion in General Revenue spending proposed for 2012-13 is an 18 percent cut from the $90.4 billion in General Revenue (including $8.3 billion in federal Recovery Act ;money used as GR)budgeted for 2010-11. It is also 30 percent short of what state agencies and universities requested in General Revenue funding for 2010-13, and slightly more than the $72.2 billion in GR that the Comptroller forecast as available for spending (after closing a $4.3 billion 2011 defi cit). The All-Funds proposed budget for 2010-13 is $159 billion, or 26 percent below the $214 billion requested for state services in 2012-13. The Senate budget does not propose using any of the $9.4 billion “Rainy Day” Fund and uses no signifi cant new revenue. The Senate budget proposes funding the Foundation School Program – the primary way that state aid goes to local school districts to educate over 4.5 million students – a level that is $9.3 billion (22 percent) below what is required by current state law, the Texas Education Code. There is not enough funding in the Senate budget proposal to replace $3.25 billion in federal Recovery Act money that was used instead of General Revenue to help pay for schools in 2010-11; to fully fund enrollment growth of about 92,000 students a year in the next two years; to make up for lower local property tax collections for schools; or to cover state-dis-trict “settle up” needs. Reduced state aid could mean that school distr9icts lay off over 100,000 employees, costing the Texas economy another 140,000 private- sector jobs. The Senate budget would also make a 69 percent cut to discretionary grant programs outside the Foundation School Program. The following would not receive any specifically designated funding in 2012-13: Texas Excellence educator incentive pay; the Student Success Initiative (to eliminate “social promotion”); the High School Completion and Success Initiative; the Technology Allotment; Pre-Kindergarten Early Start and Early Childhood School Readiness grants; Science Lab Grants; the Texas Advance Placement Incentive Program; the Virtual School Network; middle school physical education grants; Life Skills Teen Parenting; the Reading/Math/ Science Initiative; the Optional Extended Year Program; and School Bus Seat Belt grants. Communities in Schools would not longer receive state support, but would continue to receive a small amount of federal welfare block grant money (TANF) I the state budget. General academic institutions, community colleges and most health-related institutions would see a $239 million cut from 2010-11 levels because of a 5 percent reduction to formula funding. Financial aid programs would lose $431 million compared to 2010-11. Health coverage for employees at universities and community colleges would also receive less state support, shifting costs onto workers and their families. Medicaid, which provides 3.5 million Texans with access to health care (including nursing home and other long-term care services), would be funded at $35.2 billion or 29 percent less than in 2010-11 in the Senate’s proposed budget. In child protective services, a 7.4 percent overall cut (compared to 2010-11) would not fund caseload growth in foster care or adoption subsidies and would cut rates for these by 1 percent. Client services would be reduced and almost 750 staff would be eliminated because the proposed budget does not replace Recovery-Act-related funding for CPS workers. Texas Department of Criminal Justice would see a 9.4 percent reduction in spending compared to 2010-11, almost all of it state general revenue dollars. The Central Unit in Sugar Land would be closed as part of an 8 percent proposed cut to incarceration spending. Community supervision funding would see a 12 percent cut, eliminating much of the recent progress made in funding treatment initiatives and other alternatives to incarceration. Inmate managed health care would be cut 24 percent compared to 20100-11. Texas already spends way less on prison health care than most other states, according to CPPP. The Texas Emission Reduction Plan would see a 50 percent spending cut and no assistance would be provided through the Low Income Vehicle Repair, Replacement and Retrofit Program. At the Public Utility Commission, the electric utility discount program for low-income Texans would be completely eliminated for 2011-13, cutting $220 million from the state budget and giving the System Benefit Fund a balance of $940 million by the end of fiscal 2013.