Author: East Texas Review

SENATE APPROVES BUDGET BILL

By Richard Lee The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed its version of the state budget in the form of SB 1, a bill that would spend $106.4 billion in state revenue over the next two years. Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson of Flower Mound led the budget writing efforts, and told members that in spite of a reduction in available funds this session, the Senate’s budget still meets the state’s critical priorities “This is a lean budget, but it’s also a smart budget,” she said. “It responsibly meets the needs of our state and it preserves our principles of fiscal responsibility that have guided us through tough budgets in the past, and I believe it helps us come out stronger on the other side.” As in every session, the two largest slices of the budget go towards healthcare and education spending, but for the first time health and human service spending in all funds has surpassed the education budget. Health and Human Services Chair and Georgetown Senator Charles Schwertner led the Article II workgroup, which developed the health care spending portion of the budget. He said they prioritized two areas, Child Protective Services and mental health spending. The Senate budget will continue the emergency interim funding aimed at solving the state’s foster care capacity crisis, with $430 million more going to the agency charged with overseeing foster care and...

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DALLAS HOMELESS SURGE FELT STRONGEST IN LOCAL CLASSROOMS

By David Wilfong (North Dallas Gazette/NNPA Member) Dallas is looking at a large, and continually growing homeless population. While the spread-out geography of a city like Dallas may make the appearance of the homeless less visually constant, the problem is growing large enough that people are starting to take a second look at it. One of the most obvious places where the homeless issue arises is in Dallas classrooms. Mark Pierce of the Dallas Independent School District’s Homeless Education program has characterized the numbers he is seeing as “catastrophic.” According to Pierce, the school district is currently working to...

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Free Market Care

By John Stossel President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed. Trump then tweeted, “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” But I do worry. Trump is right when he says that Obamacare will explode. The law mandates benefits and offers subsidies to more people. Insurers must cover things like: —Birth control. —Alcohol counseling. —Depression screening. —Diet counseling. —Tobacco use screening. —Breastfeeding counseling. Some people want those things, but mandating them for everyone drives up costs. It was folly to pretend it wouldn’t. Insisting that lots of things be paid for by someone else is a recipe for financial explosion. Medicare works that way, too. When I first qualified for it, I was amazed to find that no one even mentioned cost. It was just, “Have this test!” “See this doctor!” I liked it. It’s great not to think about costs. But that’s why Medicare will explode, too. There’s no way that, in its current form, it will be around to fund younger people’s care. Someone else paying changes our behavior. We don’t shop around. We don’t ask, “Do I really need that test?” “Is there a place where it’s cheaper?” Hospitals and doctors don’t try very hard to do things cheaply. Imagine if you had “grocery insurance.” You’d buy expensive foods;...

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Smith County Recognize Employees

Maria Reyes has worked nearly every job in the Smith County Adult Probation Department, working her way up to supervisor during her 15-year career. Ms. Reyes was recognized in Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, for her years of service. “Each day presents a new set of challenges and a new opportunity to help people,” she said. “We are here to serve the probationers, the courts, and to protect the community. I’m also honored to work with a great group of people who do a hard job every day.” In 2002, Ms. Reyes started working in the Misdemeanor...

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TSTA: Dan Patrick’s Senate budget is a slap in the face of 5.3 million Texas school children

Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria regarding the budget approved by the Texas Senate today: “Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s Senate budget is a slap in the face of 5.3 million Texas students, their parents and teachers, and the majority of Texas voters of all political persuasions. “Dan Patrick’s education budget cuts shamefully neglect our students’ needs. Simply put, it is wrong to cut overall funding for public education by $69.5 million and cut the amount of state general revenue funding for public education by $1.877 billion, while relying on locally generated funds to make up the difference. “At a time when Texas has a Rainy Day Fund surplus of $12 billion, the largest of its kind in the country, failing to adequately fund our neighborhood schools in unconscionable. TSTA’s recent poll, conducted by a respected bipartisan polling team, found that 71% of Texas voters believe some of the Rainy Day Fund should be used to support public schools. And, by a 56 to 39 percent margin, Republican primary voters agree that some of our state tax dollars would be better used to invest in our future, rather than sit in the bank doing nothing. “To add insult to injury, the Lt. Governor wants to siphon money from his underfunded education budget to pay for a private school voucher entitlement program that would hand out state tax dollars with...

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