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Edinburg Mayor To Testify About Improved Quality Health Care Access In Hidalgo County At Capitol

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EDINBURG, Texas — Edinburg Mayor Richard H. Garcia is set to advocate on behalf of the City and its residents in strong support of Senate Bill 626 before the Texas Senate Committee on Governmental Relations tomorrow, April 15, at 9 a.m. in Austin.

SB 626, which creates a Hidalgo County Healthcare District, will serve two crucial needs in our community, Mayor Garcia says. He says the district would provide for the health care needs of the area’s impoverished residents while also providing a secure and permanent funding source for the developing UTRGV School of Medicine.

“We would like the same opportunity to improve our quality of life that other areas with healthcare districts approved by the Legislature have had,” Mayor Garcia says.

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The bill filed this session by Valley State Senators Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and Eddie Lucio Jr. differs from a similar bill filed during the previous Legislative session. SB 626 caps the tax rate at 25 cents per $100 valuation instead of 75 cents. It also requires that the budget and tax rate be approved by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to ensure proper oversight and control.

Furthermore, SB 626 requires that all district residents receive all tax exemptions to which they are entitled under homestead exemptions. This includes the homestead exemption for those aged 65 or older and disabled residents as well as the 100 percent exemption for disabled veterans and their surviving spouse.

Mayor Garcia also says the Hidalgo County Healthcare District would help cover the mounting costs the county pays to provide healthcare to the working poor. With 38.9 percent of Hidalgo County’s residents uninsured, he explains that the county already sets aside eight percent of its annual budget to pay for their healthcare, which amounts to about $10 million. Mayor Garcia added that many of these residents often wait until their health has dangerously deteriorated to seek treatment, meaning taxpayers already foot the bill for these costs through either higher county taxes or increased private insurance premiums.

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