Both Harvey Kronberg at News 8 and Jason Embry at the AAS are reporting that CHIP and the System Benefit Fund (SBF) will be held up until, of course, the GOP’s number one budget priotity is secure. But Kronberg knows that the Craddick D’s need a win or they’re in deep trouble, no matter when the primary is.
News 8 on CHIP:
As he promised, Craddick gave the CHIP restoration bill a shot lost week but consideration was delayed by a point of order. The bill is ready to return to the floor this week, but it did not make it on the calendar. Some believe that the CHIP bill is being held hostage until Democrats vote for a budget that reserves billions of dollars for future property tax cuts at the continued expense of social safety net and public education dollars.
It’s a fascinating political game. The Craddick Democrats need a significant win or some won’t be coming back in two years. As go their fortunes, so go those of Craddick.
AAS on the SBF:
The fund comes from a 65-cent fee on electric bills in areas that are open to electric competition. In other words, not places like Austin, where we get electricity from the city. The money is supposed to provide an electric-bill discount for low-income residents, but the state has used it instead over the last couple of years to justify other areas of the state budget.
The House was scheduled to vote Monday to use the money for those discounts and a couple of other programs, such as electricity help for nonprofit nursing homes and for consumer education programs. But the vote has been postponed until next week, which will be Thursdayâ€™s vote on the full House budget. For that matter, a vote on loosening requirements of the Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program also has been delayed past the budget vote.
It could be that House Speaker Tom Craddick is holding off on the two proposals in order to get Democratic votes for the budget on Thursday. Maybe heâ€™s having a harder time getting support for the budget from Republicans in general than he did in the Appropriations Committee, where all of them voted for it.
Nice, holding children and the elderly hostage to make sure tax cuts for the wealthy get passed. How much more of this are the Craddick D’s going to take?