I'm all for funding the state's trauma hospitals but this is the wrong way to do it. Better to pay for them out of the general fund or charge sin taxes on alcohol or junk food. A slight reduction in the amount socked away in the state's "rainy day fund" would easily do the trick. Besides, the state isn't distributing all the money to hospitals anyway, hoarding hundreds of millions in the "dedicated" account for trauma centers in order to help balance the budget. There's enough money in that account that, at current payment rates, the state could fund trauma centers through 2021 even if the Lege decided to abolish the surcharge next year. And half the surcharge money goes off the top straight into the general fund - hospitals never see most of it.
I've been performing some consulting work for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition on the topic, helping them prepare reform proposals for a legislative committee hearing on Monday. Grits will post more on the topic after the hearing.
See prior, related Grits posts:
- Could Texas Driver Responsibility Surcharge become an election issue? Examining reform suggestions
- DPS announces 'incentive program' rollout on driver surcharges
- Be thankful: Incentive program all the fix we're getting for now on surcharges
- Lege committee looking to tweak Driver Responsibility program; incentive program about to gear up
- Piling on: TPPF offers more reasons to abolish Driver Responsibility surcharge
- House rep promotes abolition of Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Is 2013 the year legislators axe Orwellian-named Driver Responsibility surcharge?
- Did the Driver Responsibility Surcharge cause Texas' voter ID law to be rejected?
- Few defendants getting surcharges waived by judges based on indigence
- Grits to DPS: Enact incentive rules for Driver Responsibility surcharge now
- Amendment tells DPS: Implement incentive rules for Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Hospitals: Driver Responsibility surcharge an unreliable funding source
- What's the one thing John Whitmire and Leo Berman have in common?
- Declining DWI convictions and the unmitigated failure of the Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Federal suit filed to declare Driver Responsibility surcharge unconstitutional
- DPS Director: No public safety benefit from Driver Responsibility Surcharge
- Prosecutors altering charging decisions to avoid Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Driver surcharge boosting Texas joblessness
- Unexplored costs from DPS surcharge harm safety, the economy
- Driver Responsibility surcharge 'devastating' for court system
- Bill author says 'overly punitive' Driver Responsibility surcharge a 'mistake'