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HB 1596 seeks to create the Hidalgo County Healthcare District to assist in the care of the indigent residents of the county. The bill sets a limit of 25 cents per $100 valuation on ad valorem taxes, with an increase needing a majority vote on the county ballot. An amendment to the district's budget must be adopted by its board and approved by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.
The people of Hidalgo County will vote on the creation of the district. It shall say on the ballot that: "The creation of the Hidalgo County Healthcare District, providing for the imposition of an ad valorem tax at a rate not to exceed 25 cents on each $100 valuation on all taxable property in the district. The initial ad valorem tax shall be imposed at the rate of ______ (insert amount) cents on the $100 valuation of all taxable property in the district. District funds shall be used for district purposes, including improving health care services for residents of Hidalgo County, supporting the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, training physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, obtaining federal or state funds for health care services, and providing community health clinics, primary care services, behavioral and mental health care services, and prevention and wellness programs"
05/18/2015 We still remain neutral on HB 1596 in the second chamber. The second chamber sponsor is Senator Hinojosa.
HB 1596 would allow the creation of the Hidalgo County Healthcare District to be proposed to voters in the county. We are neutral on this legislation because it would only affect those in Hidalgo County, and if they want to increase their taxes to pay for this healthcare district, it should be up to them.
It should be noted, however, that a similar district passed the 83rd Texas Legislature (Proposition 1, 2014) but was rejected by statewide voters. The ad valorem tax was to be set at 75 cents per $100 valuation.