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“Texas on the Brink,” a 2001 report from the Texas Legislative Study Group that includes many more rankings and supporting statistics.
Not much has changed.
Texas near the Top:
Blessed with an abundance of land, rivers, oil and other natural resources, Texas pioneers built a great state, and even today, it seems that everything is bigger in Texas. I’ve lived in this “Great State of Texas” for most of my live, moving here from Arlington, VA in 1976, and I now live in the state capitol of Austin. So I call myself a Texan, but in many ways I’m not proud of my state. Here’s why. We relish in being #1 in many things, but not these:
- Texas is #1 in the percent of population uninsured
(as if that would be something to brag about).
- We have the largest number of uninsured children (#1).
- We have the most toxic chemicals released into water (#1).
- We generate the most hazardous waste (#1).
- We have the most carbon dioxide emissions (#1).
- We also have the most executions (#1).
- We have the second highest birth rate
and are 4th in the number of kids living in poverty.
- We have the second highest percent of population under 18.
- We’re #2 in percent of population with food insecurity.
- We’re #4 in percent of population living below poverty.
Texas at the Bottom:
- Texas ranks dead last in per capita spending on mental health.
- We rank dead last in the percent of non-elderly women with health insurance.
- We’re dead last in the percent of women receiving prenatal care in first trimester.
- We’re dead last in the percent of population 25 and older with a high school diploma.
- We’re dead last in workers’ compensation coverage.
- We’re next to last (49th) in percent of poor people covered by Medicaid.
- We’re next to last (49th) in per capita spending on Medicaid.
- We’re next to last (49th) in average credit score.
- We’re 48th in percent of population with employer-based health insurance.
- We’re 4th from the bottom in the strength of our gun laws.
Governor Rick Perry is proud that Texas is ranked 47th in tax expenditures per capita and 46th in tax revenue per capita, describing his state as “business-friendly.” But when you see how we rank by social measures, it seems that you get what you pay for. I see lessons here for Washington politicians as they consider tax reforms and spending cuts that include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, because our world rankings, and the direction we’re heading, is not something I’m especially proud of either.