Texans: spend state surplus on school safety, Medicaid

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A new poll shows the majority of Texans support spending a portion of the $33 billion state budget surplus on priorities like increasing public school safety, expanding rural broadband internet access and extending postpartum Medicaid coverage. The study from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston found a substantial portion of respondents — 46% — indicated they believe the state should save between $10 billion and $19 billion, and 73% of participants indicated support for raising the property tax exemption from $40,000 up to $60,000. Still, a vast majority of those surveyed expressed support for increased spending on issues that impact their daily lives. “While people do support raising the property tax homestead exemption, there is even higher support for targeted spending to address some of the state’s most pressing problems,” said Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the Hobby School. Several issues garnered support across party lines. Three fourths of respondents supported extending postpartum Medicaid coverage for 12 months, and 85% support spending to provide grants for public school safety and security. Over 80% of participants supported exempting baby wipes and both child and adult diapers from sales tax, while 75% of respondents...