Are UT Dell Medical School and State Senator Kirk Watson
Misspending Central Healthcare Hospital District Funds?
Austin, 2:30 pm: UT Dell Medical School appears to be misspending taxpayer dollars committed to the Central Healthcare Hospital District. If they are, this raises serious questions about potential violations of law and the public trust, so says longtime reform attorney, Fred Lewis and former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin). Linda Curtis of Independent Texans is raising questions about her own State Senator, Kirk Watson’s law firm having benefited from it.
From UT's own financial records, the reports shows 84% of all UT Dell Medical School compensation is paid for with Central Health funds and the vast majority of these expenditures are going to personnel who do not provide any health care of any kind.
Linda Curtis of Independent Texans PAC said, “Everyone knows that Senator Watson has been the leading cheerleader for building the medical school, which is fine. However, when he failed to pass legislation in 2011 (SB 821) to authorize Central Health to help pay for medical education, I believe he continued to find ways to get his way. Senator Watson nor UT can now claim that in 2012, when Travis County voters gave the Health District the right to increase property taxes, they also gave them the power to do what SB 821, in its failure, did not do for them. Spending tens of millions of dollars per year -- for things other than health care -- is a rip off of low-income citizens, not to mention all who are paying for it.”
Lewis remarked that, “No other hospital district in Texas, to our knowledge, has funded a medical school’s non-health care services. Hospital districts typically contract with medical schools to provide health care for the poor, but no hospital district other than Central Health funds non-health care services of medical schools.”
Former longtime State Senator for the Austin area, Gonzalo Barrientos, helped draft the bill that passed in the 2003 legislative session to allow for the creation of the Central Healthcare Hospital District. Barrientos commented, “My intent in passing the law that we passed in the legislature was to create a district that medically treated poor people, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year but right now when they’re hurting.”
Senator Kirk Watson is a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP. The firm represents Central Healthcare Hospital District and has paid Watson's firm over $3 million.
For more details on matters contained in this release, see these 4 charts and the Fred Lewis report.
For More Information:
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans, PAC 512-657-2089
Texans for Electoral Competition
The signers of this letter represent an array of Texans across party lines and ideology that recently formed a coalition -- Texans for Electoral Competition. TEC intends to engage in supporting and opposing legislation in the 2017 legislative session to open up electoral competition for all Texans. You are receiving this letter to invite you to join our coalition.
Our broad concern -- one that grew out of what we all witnessed in this last election -- is that the major party machines have worked to shut down competition within their parties and from those outside the two-party duopoly. Yet, a clear plurality of voters since the 2002 Gallup poll have self-identified as “independent” and a majority of major party voters expressed clear support for “more choices”.
Our specific goals in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session are to:
* Win fair ballot access for independent candidates and other parties.
* End "one-punch" straight ticket voting thereby encouraging voters to learn more
about individual candidates, their platforms and qualifications.
* Protect petition rights, a right Texans have enjoyed in home rule cities since 1912.
* Protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that they are verifiable.
* Support real redistricting reform.
The coalition meets every Wednesday night for 1-hour conference calls from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Please join us on the call and bring your questions. Contact one of us below to get call information.
We are planning a lobby day on Friday, March 24th at the Capitol to be followed by a panel at the “Texas Populism” conference on Saturday, March 25th in Cedar Creek. Mark your calendars and watch for event details.
Click here for a paper — Death By a Thousand Signatures — by attorney Oliver Hall, a founder and counsel to the Center for Competitive Democracy in Washington, D.C.. His paper lays out some important history about how, over the last 50 years, America’s political system has become a virtual monopoly by the major party machines.
Thank you for caring about our democracy and we look forward to speaking with you and your organization.
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TEXANS FOR ELECTORAL COMPETITION
Linda Curtis, League of Independent Voters, Volunteer Coordinator 512.213.4511
katija gruene, Secretary, Green Party of Texas, 210.471.1791
Mark Miller, Libertarian Party of Texas, Vice-Chair, 512.789.6957
Mike Lewis, Left Up to Us, 719.337.6635