December 7, 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the "date which will live in infamy," when American troops were attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The date, which shot the United States into the Second World War, now commemorates the lives of men and women who bravely served so that we could continue living in a free country. For those who served previously, and those who are still serving today, we are forever indebted to you.
An Update On The State Budget
This month, the Health and Human Services Commission affirmed the proposed $350 million cut to Medicaid therapy services for children with disabilities. While I agree that certain measures must be taken to reduce spending, I believe such a drastic cut to Medicaid will limit the access to care that so many disabled Texans need. With the 85th Legislative Session quickly approaching, I agree with Speaker Straus that this was not the original intent of the Texas House, and stand ready to properly address the issue in our state's supplemental budget.
In other recent news, the Legislative Budget Board met to establish the growth rate in the state's two year-budget, which determines how much lawmakers can spend in next year's legislative session. The 10-member board - chaired by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe Straus - agreed unanimously on an 8 percent growth rate in the state's budget, which would cap spending on roughly half of a budget that last biennium totaled $209.4 billion. This number is down nearly 4 percentage points than what was set two years ago, which reflects economic growth that has been slowed by low oil prices.
Although the spending cap is significantly lower than last biennium, the cap provides the Legislature with an opportunity to make strategic investments in priorities such as education, child protection and mental health care. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that we produce a balanced and responsible state budget.
Merry Christmas and On to 2017
The Christmas music on the radio and the presents under the tree can sometimes make it easy to lose sight of the true meaning behind one of my favorite holidays. Many of you will travel to see family and friends dear to your heart, and others will stay close to home in House District 57. As for me and my family, we will once again gather at church on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Whatever your plans, the entire Ashby family wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The mobile office is suspended until after the holidays, but as always, please feel free to visit us in our District office at 2915 Atkinson Dr. in Lufkin should you need assistance. Additionally, you can always reach us in our District office at (936) 634-2762 or our Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.