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The State Of Texas After Decades Of Republican Rule

The State Of Texas After Decades Of Republican Rule

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Republicans have run Texas into the ground, and if they win in 2022, the Lone Star State will no longer resemble the state we all love.

The purpose of this article isn’t to get anyone feeling down but to highlight the severity of the need for change. Below, you’ll find fact-checked links (a lot of links) to the sources. We encourage you to click on the links or Google your own sources. Remember these statistics. Bookmark the page. Share the information with everyone you know (especially the non-voters). Everyone needs to know what’s at stake.

Texas Republicans are some of the loudest people in America, they plaster their faces all over every piece of right-wing media who will listen to them, and they love the attention. The only problem is they hardly ever tell the truth. Because Texas Republicans have prioritized celebrity, money, and power over the people of Texas for the last two decades, our state has suffered more than nearly any other American state in a million different ways.

The biggest problem with the Texas GOP member’s celebrity status is all of the people who believe them when they talk about Texas being a state of freedom and liberty. You have Terry McAuliffe, candidate for Virginia Governor, using the campaign slogan, “Don’t Texas Virginia.” Then, there are the Trumpers moving in from out of state, thinking they will find some type of far-right utopia, knowing nothing about the state at all. And the Federal Government ignores civil rights and human rights injustices in Texas because they think Texas has always been “the bad place.”

Decades of bad policies favoring corporate interests and ignoring the needs of everyday Texans have ruined our beloved state in almost every way you can think of. Republicans are responsible for all of it.

Children are suffering.

Even before the pandemic, Texas led the nation in child poverty, with 1.4 million children living under the poverty line 70% of those children are children of color.

One out of every five children in Texas is hungry and suffers from food insecurity.

A report earlier this year highlighted how Texas had done the worst job in the nation caring for children during the pandemic.

Texas is also the 51st State (and Washington DC) when it comes to child health care.

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children, comes in 45th in children’s obesity, and 42nd in children’s dental health. While children are our most precious population, they’re also the ones who suffer most. Texas children are 38th in economic well-being, Texas ranks 33rd in education, and is the 8th worst state in the nation for overall child well-being.

Children aren’t the only vulnerable population suffering in Texas.

Texas ranks the 10th worst state for senior citizens. Not only is Texas one of the worst states to retire in, but our nursing homes rank the lowest in the entire country. In addition, nearly 11% of the senior citizens in Texas live in poverty and over 350,000 elderly Texans don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The poverty rate in Texas is 14.7%, and 36% of working families live within 200% of the poverty line.

There were 26,000 houseless people in Texas before the pandemic. This number has increased by over 5% since the beginning of the pandemic.

Despite the homeless crisis in Texas, as of September 1, 2021, it is now illegal to be homeless in the State of Texas. Texas has become one of the first states to reinstate vagrancy laws.

Over the last 50 years, most of America’s Vagrancy Laws have been struck down as unconstitutional. But, as most of us have learned during the 87th legislature, when you tell a Texas Republican something is unconstitutional, they tell you, “hold my beer.”

There doesn’t appear to be a light on the Republican horizon of Texas.

About 727,000 Texans have no confidence they can pay their rent for the coming month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data. Another one million have “little confidence” that they’ll make rent next month. And America is still facing a housing crisis.

Every major city in Texas, from Houston, to Austin, San Antonio, and many others, face a shortage of affordable housing. And while the cost of living in Texas averages $21.98 per hour, Texas’ minimum wage remains at $7.25. So, even though the median individual income in Texas averages $14.70 per hour, it’s still way below the cost of living in Texas.

Lack of access to healthcare goes hand-in-hand with low wages in Texas.

When asked to assess their own health, about 20% of Texans reported that their physical health was not good for five or more days and about 20% of Texans reported that their mental health was not good for five or more days. Perceptions of physical health and mental health were directly correlated with household income.

In Texas, Medicaid is only available to the elderly, children, women with breast and cervical cancer, pregnant women, post-partum women for 12 months, and the disabled. There are 4.7 million Texans on Medicaid. However, men and women between the ages of 18 and 64 continued to be left out, as well as the Texans in the first group who made above the income requirements.

It’s been said so many times, that we all know that Texas has more uninsured people than any other state in America. 5.4 million Texans are uninsured and carry an average medical debt of $1,068. Nearly 700,000 Texans lost insurance due to job loss

Every year since the year Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACE) into law, the Republican ruled Texas Legislature has blocked a Medicaid expansion. Every. Single . Year.

What are the repercussions of the poor state of healthcare in Texas?

Texans aren’t uninsured because they don’t want insurance, 58% of Texans simply can’t afford insurance, and 61% of Texans are concerned that medical debt could lead to bankruptcy.

Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in America.

Texas’ uninsured are up to four times less likely to have a regular source of health care and are more likely to die from health-related problems. They are much less likely to receive needed medical care, even for symptoms that can have serious health consequences if not treated.

Before the pandemic, an average of 730 people was dying every year in Texas because they lacked access to healthcare.

In the last decade, access to healthcare in rural areas has been rapidly declining. Texas leads the nation in rural hospital closures, and when hospitals close, it not only leaves residents without health care but results in the slow decay of local communities. 

The upswing in Texas closures in the last decade is primarily driven by $50 million a year in Medicare cuts to Texas rural hospitals starting in 2013 (sequestration, loss of outpatient hold harmless, ACA penalties) as well as an $80+ million a year underpayment by Texas Medicaid.

84 Texas counties don’t have a hospital, putting long drives between doctors and emergencies like heart attacks or car accidents. As a result, Texans in rural areas die en route to emergency care frequently.

The Lone Star State has a lower life expectancy at 78.1 years than the national average of 78.7 years.

When lack of access to healthcare and race intersect.

Texas has the highest maternal mortality in the developed world. The number of Texas women who die during or after childbirth is on par with most third-world countries. A huge contributing factor to this is the lack of access to medical care. Worse yet, even though Black people account for 12% of Texas’ population, Black women account for 31% of maternal deaths.

So, not only is Texas’ maternal mortality rate the same as some third-world countries, it disproportionately affects Black women, who are dying from childbirth at an alarming rate.

While only 13% of Anglo Texans are uninsured, that number skyrockets in Hispanic adults to 29%.

All of the differences in health status, disease prevalence, and life expectancy by race and ethnicity cost Texas $2.7 billion in excess medical care spending annually and result in $5 billion in lost productivity each year.

It isn’t just going to the doctor that Texans struggle with. It’s also a lack of access to mental healthcare.

Texas is the worst state in the nation for access to mental healthcare. There are still substantial waiting lists for community-based mental health services. Through the forensic commitment system, the criminal justice system remains the only gateway to treatment for far too many people. In addition, our state mental hospitals are crumbling. The Department of State Health Services estimates that replacing or renovating aging state hospitals will cost taxpayers over $1 billion. Prisons are the largest providers of mental health services in the state.  

Every two hours, a Texan commits suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Texas youth, ages 10 to 24. In addition, an average of 500 veterans in Texas die every year due to suicide.

After decades of attacks from the GOP, women in Texas are suffering.

Texas ranks 48th in women’s health, 49th in women with dedicated healthcare providers, and 50th in women’s health policies. Approximately 30% of women ages 18-44 lack health insurance, and of the women who have public health insurance, such as Medicaid and Medicare, only 16% of them felt their needs were met. 

Over the last decade, Texas has closed countless Planned Parenthood locations.

In 2013, when the Republican Legislature shuttered over 60 women’s healthcare clinics, which helped low-income things like cancer screening and birth control, they started the Healthy Texas Women program. This program is the Medicaid program offered by the Texas government to women with an income of less than $302 per month. 

However, the Healthy Texas Women program is failing Texas women. From 2011 to 2016, enrollees decreased by 24%, and the number of health care services accessed fell by 39%. Under the Healthy Texas Women program, there was a 35% decrease in the women getting IUDs and other long-acting contraceptives, which is cited as one of the most effective types of birth control. In addition, injectable contraceptive admission decreased by 31% and Medicaid-paid births rose by 27%.

Texas Republicans’ decades-long attack on women has trickled down to teenagers.

We have one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation. Texas teens are more sexually active than teens in other states. 92% of sexually active teens reported not using birth control or contraception. Additionally, 90% of sexually active teens have never had an STD test.

In Texas, teenagers cannot obtain prescription birth control without a parent’s permission. Teenage girls also need parents’ permission to get an abortion unless they get a judicial bypass.

The largest percentage of Texas teens to get pregnant each year are Hispanic (34.4%) and come from places near the Mexico border. Black girls represent 26.7% of teen pregnancies, and whites comprise 14.6%. Native Americans round out these figures at 12.6% and Asians at 3%. Teenagers living in rural areas, those in foster care, and those living in poverty are more likely to become pregnant as teens. 75% of teen pregnancies are unexpected.

Almost 60% of Texas school districts teach absence-only sex education, and over 25% of Texas schools don’t teach sex education at all.

Sex education isn’t Texas’ only failure in education.

Texas is one of the most uneducated states in America. The Lone Star State also has the highest underfunded public education system in the nation. As a result, 5.4 million students go to a school where there isn’t enough money for supplies, technology, or extra curricular programs.

Wide gaps in public education quality and funding are seen across racial groups. White school districts have an average of $830 more funding per student than majority-minority districts. The gaps in racial education have been prevalent in Texas for decades. Yet, Texas Republicans have failed to close them. Instead, they’ve repeatedly made cuts to the public education system.

Racial disparities in public education go further than funding.

In Texas, Black students are four times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students, and Hispanic students are twice as likely. Because of the disproportional amount of discipline referrals received by black students in school, they are often excluded from learning opportunities.

Texas’ school-to-prison pipeline is thriving.

That’s for several reasons.

First of all, look at the disparities from teachers to educators.

WhiteBlackHispanic
Teachers59%10%28%
Students27%12%52%

Why is teacher diversity important? Research from various sources shows that minority students benefit academically from having minority teachers.

Researchers posit that minority students benefit from having role models that look like them in a position of authority, minority teachers are more likely to have high expectations for minority students, and minority teachers approach minority students differently than white teachers, in terms of instructional strategies and student discipline.

The other reason why the school-to-prison pipeline is thriving in Texas is because of the amount of money Republicans pull in from the prison industry. Some of the top recipients of for-profit campaign dollars in 2020 were John Cornyn, Henry Cuellar, and Dan Crenshaw. That’s just for one year. The private prison industry has been booming over the last decade, and more people are incarcerated in Texas private prisons than in any other state.

But what about the Texas miracle?

The Texas Miracle is this thing Texas likes to boast about because our graduation rates are so high. But, did you know our graduation rates are the 5th highest in the nation?

Except that’s a lie. There is no Texas Miracle.

For the last two decades, Texas Republicans have passed legislation that doesn’t count dropouts as dropouts. In Sec. 39.053. of Texas’ statutes.

The commissioner may not consider as a dropout a student whose failure to attend school results from:

  • The student being expelled,
  • If the student drops out, then re-enrolls, then drops out again,
  • Is ordered by the court to get a GED,
  • A student with too many absences,
  • The student is an unschooled asylee or refugee,
  • Students detained at a county pre-adjudication or post-adjudication juvenile detention facility,
  • Students who suffered a condition, injury, or illness that requires substantial medical care,

and for many other reasons. They do this to artificially raise the graduation rate to make it appear that Texas has phenomenal graduation rates, even though they’re underfunded, but it’s a lie. There are thousands of public school dropouts every year in Texas who aren’t factored into the graduation rate. So, the Texas Miracle has always been a lie.

You know how sometimes you take a step on your front porch, then take a big breath and smack your lips. That taste, that smell. Nope, that’s not “Texas Liberty”; it’s ozone pollution.

According to the study, Houston, El Paso, and Dallas are among 25 U.S. cities with the highest levels of ozone pollution. And Austin isn’t far behind. Seventeen million Texans breathe unhealthy air all of the time.

The oil and gas industry dumps millions of tons of air pollutants into our nation’s air each year. All of this pollution causes:

These toxic pollutants cause cancer, which is why we have cancer clusters in Texas.

Over the last several years, cancer clusters have popped up all over the state. All over Texas, people’s loved ones are dying from the pollutants in the air.

There has been a lot of evidence that the oil and gas industry, which Republicans love and fight for so much, are killing us. Many of these cancer clusters caused by the oil and gas industry have been in the Black and brown sides of towns.

It doesn’t stop there.

Guess who ranks first in the nation for violating water pollution rules? If you said Texas, you’d be right. Over 1,400 miles of streams and rivers are so polluted that they are classified as unsafe for basic uses, like swimming and fishing. Corporations in Texas have been dumping millions of pounds of waste in our waterways for years, and the state has looked the other way.

Across the state, corporate companies, often large industrial facilities, are dumping pollutants such as toxic chemicals, cancer-causing chemicals, ammonia, phenol, sulfides, and lead into Texas rivers and waterways.

From Grist, “…the state moved to allow oil drillers to apply for permits to use wastewater from oil sites to replenish the state’s aquifers, which are sometimes used for drinking water. At some sites, six times more water than oil is removed from the ground during the drilling process, but the issue with wastewater is its toxicity. To become safe, it requires an extensive treatment process. Scientists and environmental groups are skeptical of the plan because little is known about what risks the water could pose even after treatment if it’s introduced into the state’s water system.”

In 2012, only Indiana surpassed Texas for toxic water pollution discharged to its waterways from industrial facilities.

To solve our water pollution crisis, we need people in the Texas Legislature who will work for the interest of the people, not corporations. But, unfortunately, Republicans have already shown what they’re capable of.

Have you noticed a pattern?

Lack of access to healthcare, poverty, underfunded education, and pollution all affect the BIPOC and LGBTQI+ communities more than white communities. This was intentional.

Recently, Texas was ranked the second-worst state to live in (behind Arizona), and one of the top reasons was “inclusion.” That means Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama were all ranked a better place to live in than Texas.

Texas is ranked 42nd in education inequality by race, 47th in income gap by race, and 49th in labor force participation by gender.

During the first quarter of 2021, the Texas unemployment rate among white Texans was 4.9%, AAPI Texans were at 5.1%, Hispanic Texans were at 8%, and Black Texans were at 11.2%.

The national unemployment rate at the same time was less than 7%. The unemployment demographics for minority groups in Texas are as bad as they always have been.

When a crisis hits, like the winter freeze of 2021 or Covid-19, Black and brown Texans are hit much harder than their white counterparts. Do you think it’s intentional? Texas used to have a Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, but Republicans defunded it three years ago.

What happened with the Texas Legislature in 2021 has happened every year for decades.

This year the Texas GOP said screw it and threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at us, hoping it would all stick. What we wound up with is the most racist legislative session in modern history. From vagrancy laws to Jim Crow-style voter suppression and taking away local control, the Republicans finally feel comfortable showing their true colors. They even passed a bill making it harder for charities to bail people out of jail.

In the last few weeks, Republican Representative running for the Attorney General, Matt Krause, sent out a letter of intent to burn books, most written by authors of color. And the Republican Representative running for Agricultural Commissioner, James White, sent a letter to the Attorney General stating how gay marriage shouldn’t be recognized because of language in the state constitution.

If you think it can’t get worse, then you aren’t paying enough attention.

Crime in Texas.

Texas is the 15th most dangerous state for rape and sexual assault, and has the 17th highest rate for violence and murder.

Gun violence in Texas is pretty bad. In 2021 alone, there have been 43 mass shootings in Texas, 16 children ages 0-11 have died from guns, and guns killed 97 teenagers.

However, while violent crime and gun violence in Texas are bad, drug offenses make most Texas arrests, including possession.

Nearly 20% of all arrests in Texas are related to a drug-offence. Marijuana-related violations comprise over ten percent of the total number of annual arrests. Still to this day, Black people in Texas are three times more likely to get arrested for marijuana. There have been studies that link poverty and mass incarceration.

It’s not a coincidence that Texas Republicans look like this.

The disparities in marijuana arrests can even result in Black men being murdered at the hands of law enforcement, like what happened with Marvin Scott.

In Texas, Black people are 3x more likely to be killed by police and 1.3x more likely to be killed while unarmed than their white counterparts.

More people die at the hands of law enforcement in Texas than in any other state except California. Of Texas cities, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Garland had the highest rate of police killings per population.

Did you know that this year, 2021, 75% of Texas prisons don’t have air-conditioning? Meaning incarcerated people in Texas THIS YEAR spent Texas summers, over 100°, inside hot concrete buildings.

Obviously, that’s a human rights violation, but it’s been happening for a long time in Texas.

How has Texas handled Covid?

Texas ranks among the highest for children deaths from Covid. Sometime over the next week or two, Texas will surpass California in the total amount of deaths and have the most deaths in the nation from Covid. But, of course, one of Texas’ Republican leaders did suggest that that people should sacrifice themselves for the economy.

Doctors have said that Texas has been so awful at Covid because Republican leaders failed to do anything to stop the spread of Covid. As a result, one-third of Covid deaths are due to racial health disparities, which have cost us, taxpayers, $7.7 billion.

But at least we have a good economy….right?

One of Republicans’ favorite things to say is “Don’t California my Texas,” but as it turns out, the one state with a higher GDP than Texas is California. Texas doesn’t have a corporate income tax rate, instead, they have a “margin tax rate,” which they call a “franchise tax.”

Tax scholars routinely scrutinize the Texas Margin Tax because of its complexity and unfairness. Texas has one of the highest unemployment tax rates and the 14th highest sales tax rate, and we lead the nation in the highest property tax rates. Yet, we have the lowest spending per capita.

Texas also led the nation in chapter 11 filings last year, mostly stemming from the energy sector.

We hear Republicans tout the free market all of the time. The February 2021 freeze is a catastrophe of the free market. As energy deregulation worsened, it put all Texans at risk for a disaster, the same way that Enron ended in disaster after deregulation.

We aren’t anywhere close to prepared for the oil bust that will eventually happen as we move to green energy. Texas Legislatures can lessen the blow, but only they finally accept the very real climate crisis we’re in.

Aside from what Texas is like for corporations, what is it like for workers?

Even though Texas has the 4th most billionaires in America, we also have the most low-wage workers. Texas is the worst state for worker safety, and more workers die on the job in Texas than any other state.

Texas is one of the worst states for women to work in and the 9th worst state for unions.

So, why stay?

All of these statistics aren’t who Texas is; it’s who Republicans are and what they’ve done to our state over the last few decades.

Like most Democrats, I was born in Texas, so were my parents, grandparents, and many generations before that. All of my family is here, and my roots are here.

After Beto’s 2018 run, we learned that most native Texans voted for Beto, while the people who voted for Ted Cruz were transplants from other states. That’s part of why Conservatives hit the airwaves telling people that Texas is an alt-right utopia, to lure more people in like them.

The worst Republican politicians in Texas aren’t even from Texas. Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Ted Cruz, Chip Roy, Dan Patrick…none are Texas natives. Instead, they’ve all moved here from other states, got elected, and have spent two decades running our state into the ground.

That’s why Republicans don’t represent Texans. They don’t represent my family, my friends, my neighbors, or anyone I know. That’s why most native Texans voted for Beto. Our state isn’t lost.

I stay to use my voting power to take it back from those who have done so much harm to everything I love in this state.

Republicans aren’t the real problem.

The real problem is non-voters. Likely Democrat voters outnumber likely Republican voters. That’s based on Texas’ demographics and how each group votes.

More people in Texas identified as Democrats when polled than Republican. The Texas Republican party are older and whiter than the rest of the state, a demographic which is rapidly changing.

We outnumber them in such drastic numbers that they can only stay in power through voter suppression and racial gerrymandering.

They know that. That’s why they have taken such extreme measures this year to take away voting rights from Texas.

It can get worse.

It will get worse if Texans don’t take their state back from the far-right extremists who seek to ruin it.

Greg Abbott was recently caught on a hidden camera video supporting a ban on birth control. James White wants to outlaw and criminalize gay marriage. Matt Krause wants to burn books.

If we don’t get them and the people like them out of office, things in Texas will worsen for most Texans.

But what happens if we take our state back?

Every Democratic incumbent and candidate running for office has vowed to expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, legalize and tax marijuana, make sure public education is adequately funded, and take steps to help move Texas toward green energy. Democrats in Texas have been promising and working for this but have been continuously blocked by Republicans.

Republicans are the only obstacle in restoring our state to the great place it’s meant to be.

Are you registered to vote? Make sure you are.

You have to show up at every election, not just the presidential election, and the election in 2022 will be one of the most critical elections Texas has ever had.

Just showing up isn’t good enough. The biggest problem we have is non-voters. We all know non-voters in our lives. You have to talk to them. Talk to them again and again if necessary. You have to get them to understand how important their vote is and why we need them to register to vote AND show up on election day.

After you convince them to register, make sure you remind them of upcoming elections and help them get to the polls if need be.

We can take our state back, we can make Texas a better place to live, but it’s going to take all of us. It’s all hands on deck. Get involved if you can.

Never forget how important it is to vote.

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