In a brief persentation Monday afternoon at the Llano County Courthouse, State of Texas Comptroller Susan Combs emphasized the need for Texas to maintain prudent financial policies.
Using graphs and charts, Mrs. Combs illustrated how the cost of Medicaid and Public Education have increased over the last ten years, from 58.9 percent of the State’s General Revenue budget in 2001 to 61.5 percent in 2011. She predicts that those expenditures will grow to 74.6 percent by 2023.
She touched on the the Health Care Legislation, stating that the enrollement numbers for Medicaid will increase in 2014 when eligibility requirements are changed.
In regards to public education, Combs said that currently, public school spending is outpacing student enrollement and inflation growth in Texas.
According to her report, school districts have added administrators at a faster rate than teachers and students and debt service is the fastest-growing category of spending, rising 152 percent over the last decade.
In addition to rising education costs, Combs said that local governments in Texas carry a high debt load in comparison to other large states, with almost $8,000 per capita debt load in 2009. The increase came as cities, counties, and school districts sold debt to finance future expenditures, such as new facilities and infrastructure.
Combs referred to several new websites where this information can be found, including FAST, which is Financial Allocation Study for Texas, which breaks down spending, grade scores, demographics and more by school district and campus. www.fastexas.org.
Another is TheTexasEconomy.org, which provides a comprehensive look at the economic forces shaping Texas’ growth.
Combs also recommended that residents visit ClaimItTexas.org, a site where all unclaimed funds are searchable. If you failed to cash your last paycheck, insurance check, or were owed a refund by your cable company more than three years ago, chances are the State has your money waiting.