01.26.12

It’s time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us

Posted in Around The State, Inequality, Money In Politics, Poverty, Taxes at 3:40 pm by wcnews

There was a report mentioned yesterday at the Postcards that the Texas tax climate good for business. We don’t need another report to remind us that corporations and businesses pay little in taxes in Texas.  We already know the tax burden in Texas rests overwhelmingly on those at the lower end of the wage scale.  Certainly that makes corporations and the 1% happy, but there are much more pressing needs and issues in Texas then those.

Poverty, child poverty in particular, and lack of health care,  Texas’ poverty rate rises for second year in a row.

The number of Texans living in poverty jumped to more than 4.6 million last year, an increase of nearly 9 percent, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

For the second consecutive year, Texas’ poverty rate grew — to 18.4 percent, well above the national average of 15.1 percent.

Texas’ rate was sixth-highest among the states last year, trailing only Mississippi, Louisiana , Georgia, Arizona and New Mexico. Texas also ranked sixth in poverty in 2008 and 2009.

Once again, Texas led all states in the share of its population that lacks health insurance, at 24.6 percent. The national uninsured rate is 16.3 percent.

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In child poverty, Texas moved up a notch. In 2009, the rate among state residents younger than 18 was 25.6 percent, or seventh-highest among states. Last year, at 27 percent, Texas came in No. 6, edging out Indiana.

Texas had 1.9 million poor children, the study found.

It’s not a great state for wage earners, Low Wages in Texas.

And for needy Texans there’s little help.

For residents living in poverty, the state doesn’t offer many services or even make federally-funded benefits easily accessible.

For instance, it has one of the tightest income limits — less than 12% of the poverty level — to qualify for federal cash assistance payments and one of the most meager benefits, a maximum of about $260 a month for a family of three, said Celia Cole, senior research analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income residents. The program serves less than 6% of poor children in the state.

Texas’ Medicaid program covers few non-disabled adults, instead providing health insurance mainly for children and senior citizens. And only an estimated 55% of those eligible for food stamps had signed up for the program in 2008, among the lowest participation rates in the country.

Enrollment has since improved after the state legislature allocated more money for administering the system after coming under pressure from the federal government and being hit with a class action lawsuit. However, Cole says, need has greatly increased as well.

And there’s little to no recourse for poor, working, and middle class Texans. Especially since corporations own the Texas Supreme Court, Report: Decade-Long Review Shows Texas Supreme Court Is Activist, Ideological.

The Texas Supreme Court has a long history of favoring corporate defendants over families and small businesses, according to a decade-long review of the Court’s decision making by Court Watch, a project of the non-profit Texas Watch Foundation.

Court Watch reviewed the 624 cases involving consumers decided by the Court between 2000 and 2010. The report, “Thumbs on the Scale: A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court, 2000-2010,” finds that the state’s high court for civil matters “has marched in lock-step to consistently and overwhelmingly reward corporate defendants and the government at the expense of Texas families.”

It’s long past time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us.

Further Reading:
Texas Poverty 101.
How Fracking is Changing the Face of South Texas.
The Texas Unmiracle.
More Regressive Tax Code Contributed To Growing Income Inequality Before Crisis: Report.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » TPA Blog Round Up (January 30, 2012) said,

    January 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

    [...] Texas always ranks high on the list of “business friendly” states. WCNews at Eye On Williamson says It’s time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us. [...]

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