Texas On The Brink is a report that has been produced annually since 2003, originally by State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh but now being continued by the Legislative Study Group. It shows how Texas compares to other states in a variety of categories:
1. State Taxes
4. Health Care
10. Quality of Life
11. Public Safety
If you go through it, you’ll notice a theme: Texas is generally at or near the top in bad things – pollution, child poverty, dropouts – and at or near the bottom in good things – access to health care, graduation rates, and so on. You’d think that for a state that others are being told they should emulate, we ought to be doing better than that. I guess it’s a matter of what’s important to you. Check it out, or grab a downloadble copy for easy printing. The Trib has more, and the LSG press release about this is beneath the fold.
The Texas Legislative Study Group (LSG) today released the 2011 edition of Texas on the Brink: How Texas Ranks Among the Fifty States. Former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh released the first edition of Texas on the Brink in 2003 in order to make quality statistics and policy research easily available to the public. To download the 2011 Texas on the Brink, please visit www.texasonthebrink.com.
LSG Treasurer, Rep. Elliott Naishtat said, “We often hear our leaders brag about what a great state Texas is for business. Sadly, the same does not hold true for Texas children. We have the highest percentage of uninsured children in the country, and nearly one in four Texas children live in poverty. Our children deserve better, and it is our responsibility to offer them better.”
“With a looming $27 billion budget shortfall, it is likely that Texas will fall farther down the ranks in terms of education and health care,” said Senator Rodriguez. “It is time that we stop passing short-sighted policies and address why we are ranked at the bottom when it comes to people with high school diplomas and the number of uninsured in our state.”
“The rest of the country is moving forward, and Texas children are being left behind,” added Rep. Alma Allen. “If we truly want to lead the nation, we need to invest in our children and give them the tools to succeed academically.”
Rep. Borris Miles stated, “The doors to a higher education are closing for thousands of Texas students. Texas families have to shell out a higher share of their income to pay for college, and Texas students are graduating with more and more debt. This trend cannot continue.”
“We have the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the highest uninsured population in the country,” added Rep. Armando Martinez. “To make matters worse, there are proposals to severely cut the rates we pay doctors who see Medicaid patients. We should be trying to move our state forward, not cut our way backwards”
LSG Vice Chair, Rep. Lon Burnam said, “We’re not in the bottom in every category. We’re first in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and first in cancer causing carcinogens released in the air. If we don’t do something to reverse course, the health of Texans will be jeopardized by merely breathing our state’s air.
LSG Chair, Rep. Garnet Coleman concluded, “This is an undoubtedly difficult time for Texas families and a difficult time for our state. It is our job to lead responsibly and to always understand the impact of the public policy decisions we make. Texas On the Brink is designed not to shame Texas, but rather to inspire us to do better. Severe cuts to state services will only make our already dismal standings worse. Texas can do better.”