Submitted by Mary McClure
The Texas House and Senate overwhelmingly approved two proposals Sunday night authored by Representative Jeff Leach, limiting Medicaid expansion in Texas under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and providing substantial tax relief for small businesses.
Stated Leach, “It is our duty in the Legislature to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars at every turn and make the tough decisions that we were elected to make. These two combined measures promote accountability in government and bolster our economy, and I am proud of the overwhelming support received in both the House and Senate.”
With the passage of Senate Bill 7, a substantial piece of legislation that significantly reforms the Texas Medicaid Program, Representative Leach offered an amendment limiting the expansion of Medicaid in Texas under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under current law, the Texas Health & Human Services Commissioner has full authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval. Leach’s Amendment closes this loophole by ensuring that future Governors and Commissioners are constrained by statute from expanding the Texas Medicaid Program without the consent of the Texas Legislature.
Leach’s amendment to Senate Bill 7 was strongly supported by conservative organizations across the state, including the acclaimed Texas for Public Policy Foundation. Stated Arlene Wohlgemuth, Executive Director and Director of the Foundation’s Center for Healthcare Policy, “The final passage of SB 7 is a welcome step forward in the ongoing effort to reform Texas’ Medicaid program so that it is sustainable in the long term. We especially applaud the inclusion of the Leach amendment, which prohibits the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in Texas and ensures that Medicaid resources go to those who truly need them – those currently enrolled, for whom the program was intended.”
Additionally, both the House and Senate adopted House Bill 500, providing over $700 million in tax relief for businesses subject to the onerous franchise tax. A key component of Governor Perry’s ambitious four-point plan for tax relief, Leach’s proposal was added as an amendment, creating a tax deduction for various expenses associated with a business relocating to Texas from another state. This common-sense proposal will go a long way towards keeping Texas competitive by promoting steady job growth and broadening the tax base.
Leach’s proposal came highly endorsed by the Texas Association of Business, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Texas Conservative Coalition. “By encouraging stable job growth, this proposal provides real tax relief for small businesses – the economic backbone of our state – keeping Texas on its strong and steady path towards economic prosperity,” said Bill Hammond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Association of Business.
Representative Leach serves on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, the House Committee on Urban Affairs, and the House Committee on Rules and Resolutions as well as the Policy Committee for the Texas House Republican Caucus. Leach represents portions of Plano, Allen, Richardson and Dallas in Collin County.