FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/09/2015
HEALTHCARE DISTRICT PASSES OUT OF COUNTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
AUSTIN, TX – Today, House Committee on County Affairs passed HB 1596, authored by State Representative R.D. “Bobby” Guerra (41), to create a Healthcare District in Hidalgo County. The Valley delegation including the Senate is working collectively on this critical piece of legislation to ensure its intended outcomes are met.
HB 1596 was crafted in response from voters who wanted stronger safeguards put in place before moving forward with the creation of a Healthcare District. This bill would cap the tax rate at 25 cents per $100 valuation; provide all residence homestead exemptions for the elderly and disabled residents, as well as a total exemption for 100% disabled veterans and their surviving spouse. The budget and tax rate must be approved by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to ensure proper oversight and all rollback tax provisions apply.
To ensure the best interests of Hidalgo County and its residents are met in the local court systems, Representative Guerra along with his Valley colleagues Representatives’ Martinez, Munoz, Longoria and Canales filed HCR 111, a resolution in support of the health care district that strongly encourages the County to decrease their tax rate accordingly should the health care district be passed by voters and created. The resolution adds that the County will not be responsible for indigent care program and those millions of dollars; rather the district is intended to decrease the burden on taxpayers by taking advantage of federal matching funds, and underlying support for the district.
"The Healthcare District is a solution for inadequate access to healthcare in Hidalgo County. It’s a fact that we have some of the highest rates of uninsured individuals and amongst the worst health care outcomes in the nation. HB 1596 would provide Hidalgo County with the proper sanctions it needs to improve on indigent care, as well as leverage and draw down additional federal funds to address health disparities, “stated Rep. Guerra.
This investment will bring millions of dollars into our local economy, create thousands of new jobs, produce an educated and healthy workforce, and a healthier Hidalgo County for all of our families and children.
The following are the key changes to the Healthcare District legislation:
• The tax rate is now capped at 25 cents per $100 valuation.
• The budget must be approved by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to ensure proper oversight.
• All residence homestead exemptions will be provided. This includes an exemption for elderly and disabled residents as well as a total exemption for 100% disabled veterans and their surviving spouse.
• All rollback tax provisions apply.