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From 1995 through 1998, while the cost of legal services in the United States rose more than 14 percent (source: U.S. Dept of Labor), insurer legal defense costs, per case, actually decreased 1 percent. While verdicts generally have risen between 8 percent and 10 percent each year, insurance companies have contained the inflation on the amount they paid to plaintiffs on their litigated cases to a total of less than 4 percent over four years!
Another bill, SB 512, required diminishing the role of the citizen-elected State Board of Education. Children’s textbook funds would have been put in the hands of individual citizens handpicked by politicians, which would have diluted the power of the Board of Education.
Financing and eligibility of the state Medicaid program would have been expanded under SB 1156. The bill contained provisions for Medicaid reform and included changes to the limits for the vendor drug program; the removal of assets test for Medicaid children; continuous eligibility for children transitioning from Medicaid to CHIP or private insurers; waivers for medications and related services for persons with HIV infection or AIDS; women's health care services; and a medical assistance buy-in program for certain recipients with disabilities.
HB 2807 would have provided another program extending Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who would not otherwise qualify. While the pilot project would be funded with federal dollars, continuation or expansion of the program could result in a significant fiscal note.
The governor, acting in the best interest of the taxpayers and keeping his word to veto any tax increases, vetoed the bills mentioned above, as well as several others. This took courage and leadership.
Though no major taxes were enacted, the state biennial budget hit $113 billion and politicians in Austin are already lamenting a potential budget shortfall in two years.
But other bills that will further expand the state budget remain.
On behalf of the 48,000 members of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, we thank the governor for vetoing bills that would have increased the size and scope of government.
We commend the governor for his leadership and courage to veto bills that would have had an adverse impact on the state budget and taxpayers. We ask him to continue on this fiscally responsible path by vetoing future legislation that is burdensome to taxpayers and the state budget.
Peggy M. Venable
Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy