Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pro-Business Republicans' budget would cost Texas thousands of private sector jobs

Not Surprisingly, The Texas GOP has become the butt of many jokes.

The GOP has always sold itself as being pro-business and pro-jobs. Well, their currently proposed budget will have exactly the opposite effect on some of the state's private industries. The Dallas Mornings has the following eye-opening report of how GOP cuts would negatively impact private sector jobs that deal in providing services to the poor and the elderly.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

AUSTIN — Business owner after business owner warned Wednesday that proposed cuts would shutter their operations serving Texas’ disabled children and frail adults. The spending blueprint would reduce payments to some social service providers by more than 30 percent.
“I don’t know that I’ll be able to stay in business,” said Jerre van den Bent, owner of Dallas-based Therapy 2000, a 3,000-employee agency helping children with developmental disabilities.

Mickey Atkins, president of Austin-based D&S Residential Services, which has 13 group homes for the mentally disabled in Collin and Denton counties, said it couldn’t survive proposed cuts to “Medicaid waiver programs” that keep clients out of institutions.“We’d be out of business by Sept. 1,” said Atkins, who has 1,500 employees.

George Linial, who represents Texas’ nonprofit nursing homes, with 35,000 residents, said cuts of 34 percent to Medicaid’s spending on skilled nursing facilities would be a death blow to what is a major employer in many rural areas. “The cuts are basically going to close a lot of nursing homes,” said Linial, president of the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

After listening to scores of witnesses, some Democrats seethed with frustration, calling for care providers to rally support for lawmakers to find ways to raise new revenue. Senator  John Whitmire, D-Houston, told care providers: “Build an army. … Talk to your neighbors, your employees and your families.” Senators of both parties heard more than 80 witnesses, and 10 of the panel’s 15 members were still in their seats in late afternoon. “They have never been that engaged,” said 24-year Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, saying she’d “never seen a quorum of this committee for public testimony” last so long.

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