February 15, 2013
By Paul K. Emerson, TAC State Financial Analyst
Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, HB 10 by Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), in a unanimous vote (25-0).
Within HB 10 is approximately $4.5 billion to pay for Medicaid services that were not fully funded during the last legislative session. Programs such as acute care, long-term care and the well-known Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are all currently in jeopardy of going broke, if the Legislature fails to act quickly. Also at stake is the extra $6.6 billion that would draw down federal funds to help pay for these programs over the next two years.
In addition, there is $630 million for the Foundation School Program in HB 10.
Rep. Pitts, the House Appropriations Committee chair expects to have HB 10 on the House floor by next week (Thursday, Feb. 21) and to have the bill on the Governor’s desk by the first week of March. HB 10 is designated as an emergency bill and falls under the House procedural rules that would allow members to vote on the measure during the first 60 days of the session.
Other supplemental bills are likely to emerge later this session that will address the state’s costs in fighting wildfires and providing prisoner health care. In total, the state is looking at $6.78 billion of unmet costs under the current budget.
Luckily, these costs may be offset with the recent Comptroller’s projections of available revenues of $8.8 billion at the end of Aug. 2013. This is primarily due to better-than-expected revenue collections driven by high energy prices.
For more information on HB 10, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.