I found this article on the Star Tribune’s website. This is very similar to what has been happening in Minnesota, but Texas started with much less state support for programs. Texas is transferring costs from state government to local governments, just as Minnesota is doing by way of unfunded mandates, LGA cuts, and accounting gimmicks that take money away from schools.
Some interesting Quotes:
“It’s one thing to say `no new taxes,’ however, that doesn’t mean there won’t be all kinds of fees increased,” Greenberg said. “Things are just pushed down to the local level.”
Cuts set off a domino effect: Historically, public schools raise property taxes when the state education agency sends smaller checks. Cities and counties have to pick up the bill when the sick go to the emergency room because fewer doctors accept Medicaid. And when the mentally ill don’t receive treatment, local law enforcement often steps in.
The results are nothing to be proud of. Whereas Minnesota with its traditional higher taxes consistently has been near the best in the nation with regards to quality of life, poverty rates, healthcare, and education, Texas has been near the bottom. Will Texans will allow their state to further down this path? Many of the baseless political soundbites are currently failing in Texas. Those that claim tort reform will increase access should realize that Texas has done this, but has seen no benefit.
Texas is going to be an interesting state to watch. The state has seen huge growth, but that is primarily due to the Katrina migration and the surge in Latino population. These groups represent an emerging majority that is diametrically opposed to and hurt by the policies. Something will have to give.