From the Office of State Senator John Carona

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2002
CONTACT: Alexandra Ritchie, (512) 463-0116

CAPITOL CLEARINGHOUSE UPDATE

Senator Carona feels the upcoming 2003 session of the Texas Legislature has the potential to be a very difficult session. Three of the thorniest issues that must be addressed in 2003 are reforming the insurance industry, reworking the school finance system, and balancing the state's budget.

The Senator says that every Texan knows insurance reform must be handled with care. Skyrocketing premiums for homeowners, auto medical malpractice, and health insurance have led to a decline in coverage and availability, leaving consumers and providers high and dry. He is resolved to reform the industry "from top to bottom," to reverse these trends, and guarantee "that all lines of insurance are available to Texans at reasonable rates."

Also high on the agenda is retooling the Texas school finance system. Carona is committed to pushing the state to absorb more of the education costs, to lessen the burden on local property taxpayers, and develop a statewide education finance plan to replace the "Robin Hood" method currently in place.

A budget shortfall of at least $5 billion will require legislators to make tough decisions while writing the budget for the next biennium. Carona is adamant that a balanced budget will not mean new or increased taxes, but will entail reconsideration of all state programs and some reduction in spending.

The 12-year veteran of the Texas Legislature says he will rely on his experience and knowledge to negotiate firmly, but fairly on behalf of District 16 and Texas.

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