The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, based in Austin, works on everything from health care to hunger.
Executive Director Ann Beeson lays out the most pressing issues she thinks Texans, especially low-to-moderate income Texans, are up against in 2018.
On the state of poverty in Texas
“There’s a lot of talk of the so-called ‘Texas Miracle,’ but the question is ‘miracle for whom?’ And what we see is some great figures around Texas being a great draw for business. But how are our lower-income families doing? And unfortunately, they are not faring well at all. We still have very entrenched poverty all over Texas and worse numbers here in Dallas. We have over a third of Dallas children living in poverty, and a very high rate around the state as well.”
On the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Harvey
“Unfortunately, before Hurricane Harvey hit, we had immigrant families in Texas living in a climate of fear because of both state and federal immigration policies. That put them in much more danger when Hurricane Harvey hit. There’s an irony here because the industries that will help to rebuild Houston and all the other areas that are affected by storm rely on immigrant labor, and yet, those immigrant families are often the ones that were most likely to have lost housing, lost jobs, and at the same time, they’re afraid to seek help because of these Draconian immigration policies.”
On the relationship between citizenship and taxes
“We have approximately 177,000 young Texas immigrants who are eligible for DACA, and they currently contribute over $240 million to local and state taxes annually. If we don’t get a national Dream Act passed, that would mean Texas could expect to lose at least $79 million in state and local tax revenue. That is the projected loss if DACA recipients stay in the state after losing work authorization, which would mean that would they only able to earn lower wages and they would be much less likely to file income tax returns.”