In the next two months, we’ll be hearing a lot about legislative priorities. In late November, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his legislative priorities, and we agree on one thing: the budget decisions made this session could have a lasting impact for years, even decades, to come. Every Texan believes the budget is the moral document of our state, and if we are leaving communities behind, we have a moral imperative to address it. With that said, here are Every Texan’s top five priorities at the 88th Legislative Session that, if approved, will benefit Texans of every race and background, from El Paso to Beaumont and from Amarillo to McAllen.
- Establish an Equitable Budget & Tax System: The 88th Legislature should prioritize health and education spending over Chapter 313 corporate tax abatements, wealthy property owner tax breaks, and wasteful border security funding. Are we going to support students and teachers, both current and retired, and invest in our health care systems, or are we going to give big tax breaks to large corporations and wealthy homeowners? Tax cuts are as much a recurring expense as any education or health care spending priority — so the Legislature can’t use that as an excuse to use critical funding on businesses instead of the services that directly benefit Texans of all backgrounds. In terms of spending, data and community reports show that spending over $4.5 billion on “border security” is wasteful, harmful to local communities, and unsustainable.
- Increase Access to Healthy Food: Inflation adjustments cannot just reduce costs for big business. Everyday Texans are feeling the impacts of inflation and have not seen wage adjustments to match our needs. At the very least, the Legislature should make sure our students, workers, and families are not going hungry. This can be done by adjusting the vehicle asset test and extending access to food security for college students.
- Keep Texans Covered: Texas is currently unprepared for the day when the federal government ends the COVID-19 public health emergency. To avoid a collapse of the Medicaid and SNAP eligibility systems — similar to the collapse of the unemployment insurance system during the pandemic — Texas needs to address eligibility staff shortages, streamline the enrollment process, and reduce the disenrollment of eligible Texans due to unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.
- Increase the Basic Allotment and Reject Voucher Schemes: When it comes to Texas education, we have the resources not only to increase school funding but also to make annual adjustments for inflation. The problem is not recapture or a lack of choice — it’s the lack of adequate and equitable funding. In fact, vouchers, the solution proposed by some of our state leaders, would exacerbate the problems. The simple solution is raising the basic allotment, which would raise teacher pay, reduce recapture, and support needed programs for every student population across the state. Other solutions include switching from attendance-based to enrollment-based funding, increasing funding for underserved student populations, and fully funding all-day Pre-K.
- Prioritize Workers, Not State Interference: Local communities are trying to address rising costs of living and support policies that improve the lives of their residents. Each community has different needs. The Legislature should not interfere with the ability of municipalities to support workers, implement solutions for people experiencing homelessness, run accessible elections, establish informed health and environmental guidelines, and welcome immigrants. Abusive state interference prevents all levels of government from working together and results in so-called “one size fits all” policies that do not work for many communities across Texas.
Regardless of race, gender, background, or what zip code is home, we believe all Texans have the power of voice and action to improve our daily lives and conditions. At Every Texan, we’ll advocate for bold, research-driven policies that expand opportunity for Texans of all backgrounds at the 88th Texas Legislature and beyond. Sign up for our Point of Order newsletter to stay informed on the latest updates from the Capitol and how to make your voice heard in this session.