Tag Archives: lege

Los Favorit@s del Lege

Well, the Trib had their online vote and the final tally left me wanting more of my favorites to be in the Top 10. Oh, well. Here’s my Top 5.

  • State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer – As the chief of the Mexican American Lege Caucus, he pulled off a Ramon Ayala concert at the Capitol with 8,000 in attendance to celebrate MALC’s 40 years of fighting for what’s right, while also representing his district and everyone else. Plus, his office kept me happy with plenty of commentary and press releases on the latest Lege stuff.
  • State Rep. Armando Walle – No, not because I like the guy, but because he, along with my own State Rep, Gene Wu, kept us all very informed with their Twitter play-by-play. They even earned an attempt at an SB1 motion to instruct to keep twitter use at a minimum. Of course, that didn’t stop them.
  • State Senator Sylvia Garcia – Because she hit the ground running despite Rick Perry’s delays. She put together a good staff that worked hard from the get-go. Kudos to the Senator and her staff.
  • State Senator Rodney Ellis – He’s another one that keeps us well-informed, and not just about his bike rides. His work on the Morton Act which ensures all evidence in a criminal case is revealed, is quite commendable–and it’s the law now. No complaints about my State Senator.
  • Honorable Mention – State Rep. Roberto Alonzo – He’s a fellow liberal from Cristal (my hometown). What other reason do you want?

And thanks to Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and their insistence on a Special Session, all Republicans end up in a tie for first as least favorites. (No surprise, right?)

I just thought I’d add my own favorit@s list since it seems to be the thing. This is the first Lege session in which I actually had two Democrats representing me in Austin. After a decade of Tommy Williams, Joe Crabb, and Dan Huberty, I must say it was a well-earned relief.

 

 

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CPPP Releases New Family Budget Tool

One of my favorite policy groups, the Center for Public Policy Priorities released a new data tool that finds what a two-income family with two kids must earn to cover basic expenses in various areas of the state, without any kind of family or government assistance.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other public sources, the Center for Public Policy Priorities created the Better Texas Family Budgets, an online public education tool that measures what it really takes to survive and thrive across 26 metropolitan areas for eight different family sizes.

They go on to describe some startling facts.

“The basic budgets we’ve created paint a picture of what it takes for Texas families to cover basic needs and have a safe and healthy lifestyle,” said Frances Deviney, senior research associate at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “Our base budgets don’t account for what it takes to get ahead, such as college savings for their children or emergency savings to protect against unexpected hard times.”

To explore what it takes to get ahead, the Better Texas Family Budgets tool features three new savings categories – emergency, college, and retirement – that the user can opt to add on top of the basic family budget.

“The Better Texas Family Budgets addresses how much income is enough for working Texas families, and clearly, the answer is complex,” Deviney said. “It depends on how big your family is, where you live, and what kind of benefits your job provides, if any at all.”

The Better Texas Family Budgets also calculates how many jobs in each metropolitan area pay enough to cover the needs of different sized families.

“From what this shows us, just having a job is not enough in Texas, and there is gap between what people are earning and how much it costs to live.” said Don Baylor, Jr., senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Nearly 80 percent of low-income Texas families are working full-time and year-round, so clearly many of them are poor not because they don’t work but because their job doesn’t pay enough. In fact, Texas has the third-worst rate across the country of jobs that pay at or below minimum wage.

“Not only do we need jobs that pay and offer good benefits, but also we must reinvest in the safety net to keep families from falling further into poverty when times get tough,” Baylor said.

For all those who complain about assistance for those who need it, well, this tool provides a dose of reality.

This tool highlights what life is really like for Texas families and emphasizes what our policy priorities should be moving forward during the 2013 legislative session. To ensure that all Texans can not only get by, but can actually get ahead, we need to invest in public and higher education to create opportunities for well-paying jobs with benefits. We also need to shore up those work supports for Texans whose jobs don’t pay enough to cover basic expenses by ensuring they do not go hungry (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and have access to affordable quality health care (e.g., implementation of health reform). These programs provide a critical hand-up to families who are working hard to get ahead.

Accompanying the tool is a video documentary which can be seen here.

Thanks to CPPP for developing this snapshot of reality.

Capitol Event: Texas HOPE Rally on Tuesday

Texas HOPE Capitol Rally
“Hispanics Organized for Political Education”

Date: Tue, January 8th, 2013
Place: South steps of the Capitol
Time: 9:00-4:00

Texas HOPE Capitol Rally Speakers List: 83rd Texas Legislative Session
12:30-1:30
Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer
1. Linda Chavez- HOPE member/Immediate Past LULAC State Director
2. Hector Flores- HOPE member/Past LULAC National President
3. Luis Figueroa- MALDEF Legislative coordinator
4. Lydia Camarillo- Director Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project
5. Juan Flores- Executive Director of La Fe Policy center
6. Bea Martinez- HOPE member/Chair of LEFT/board member GDHCC
7. Dr. Albert Cortez- IDRA funding policy analyst
8. Nick Peña- American G.I. Forum, veterans affairs liaison- San Antonio
9. Dr. Patricia Lopez- Associate Director NLERAP
10. Patricia Gonzales- Director WCVI
11. Gloria Leal- MABA representative

1:30-2:00
1. Cristina Garcia- Texas State Director for Young Adults/Collegiate councils
2. Henry Rodriguez- President of Los Zapatistas, San Antonio
3. Rene Lara- AFL/CIO
4. Fidencio Leija- Co-founder, LEUV PAC, Houston
5. Dr. C.P. Garcia- American G.I. Forum, Hector P. Garcia Chapter
6. Rene Martinez- HOPE member/Dallas District 3 Director

2:00-2:30
1. Montserrat Garibay- board member Educate Austin
2. Aurelio Montemayor- IDRA outreach coordinator
3. Mary Lou Canales- HOPE member/Texas State Director for Women
4. Elia Mendoza- Texas State Director, LULAC
5. Velma Ybarra- Texas HOPE Education Committee Chair
6. Rep. Roberto Alonzo/Rep. Trey Martinez-Fisher/Sen. Jose Rodriguez

2:30-3:00
1. Luis Juarez- President UT Longhorn Council
2. Placido Salazar- American GI Forum Commander, San Antonio
3. Alonzo Salas- Spokesperson for Voto Latino, Dallas
4. Cynthia Valadez- LEFT board officer/East Austin community activist
5. Austin ISD board member- Gina Hinojosa or Dr. Jaime Mathias
6. Steve Huerta- Organizer, All of Us or None

3:00-3:30
1. Carlos Manuel- District 3 Deputy Director, Dallas
2. Walter Trejo- ULI (University Leadership Institute) representative
3. Anayeli Marcos- ULI representative
4. Abigail Zapote- President of UT Dallas Council
5. Christopher Enriquez- President of Eastfield Collage/North TX Dream Team

NOTE: Any legislator who is a friend of the coalition who shows up will immediately be given time and introduced by the current speaker.