Austin, Texas
                    FISCAL NOTE, 77th Regular Session
                              April 11, 2001
          TO:  Honorable Paul Sadler, Chair, House Committee on Teacher
               Health Insurance, Select
        FROM:  John Keel, Director, Legislative Budget Board
       IN RE:  HB3343  by Sadler (Relating to the creation, operation,
               and funding of a statewide group benefits program for
               employees and retirees of school districts.), As
*  Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for    *
*  HB3343, As Introduced:  positive impact of $618,757,000 through       *
*  the biennium ending August 31, 2003.                                  *
*                                                                        *
*  The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal      *
*  basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of    *
*  the bill.                                                             *
This fiscal analysis assumes full participation by all the school
districts.  At lower participation rates, the assumptions for health
care costs, tax rates, and other variables could vary significantly.
General Revenue-Related Funds, Five-Year Impact:
          *  Fiscal Year  Probable Net Positive/(Negative)   *
          *               Impact to General Revenue Related  *
          *                             Funds                *
          *       2002                          $42,757,000  *
          *       2003                          576,000,000  *
          *       2004                          576,000,000  *
          *       2005                          576,000,000  *
          *       2006                          576,000,000  *
All Funds, Five-Year Impact:
*Fiscal    Probable    Probable    Probable    Probable   Change in    *
* Year     Savings/    Revenue     Savings/    Revenue    Number of    *
*        (Cost) from Gain/(Loss) (Cost) from Gain/(Loss)    State      *
*           Texas     from Texas  Foundation     from     Employees    *
*           School      School   School Fund   General   from FY 2001  *
*         Employees   Employees      0193      Revenue                 *
*          Uniform     Uniform               Fund -Texas               *
*           Group       Group                  Parks &                 *
*          Benefits    Benefits                Wildlife                *
*         Trust Fund  Trust Fund              Department               *
*                                                0001                  *
*  2002               $2,562,755,          $0    $851,000       100.0  *
*           $(52,000,         000                                      *
*                000)                                                  *
*  2003                3,442,363, 576,000,000           0       100.0  *
*         (2,206,150,         000                                      *
*                935)                                                  *
*  2004                3,591,071, 576,000,000           0       100.0  *
*         (2,833,491,         000                                      *
*                497)                                                  *
*  2005                3,748,510, 576,000,000           0       100.0  *
*         (3,226,886,         000                                      *
*                637)                                                  *
*  2006                3,915,670, 576,000,000           0       100.0  *
*         (3,620,342,         000                                      *
*                513)                                                  *
*Fiscal      Probable        Probable        Probable        Probable     *
* Year       Revenue         Revenue      Savings/(Cost)     Revenue      *
*          Gain/(Loss)     Gain/(Loss)      from Other     Gain/(Loss)    *
*         from Available    from State        Funds        from School    *
*          School Fund     Highway Fund        0997         Districts     *
*              0002            0006                                       *
*  2002       $41,906,000    $129,150,000   $(23,000,000)              $0 *
*  2003                 0       3,777,000               0     604,000,000 *
*  2004                 0       2,192,000               0     604,000,000 *
*  2005                 0       1,617,000               0     604,000,000 *
*  2006                 0       1,152,000               0     604,000,000 *
Fiscal Analysis
The bill establishes a statewide group insurance program for employees
and retirees of independent school districts, charter schools, and
regional service centers.  The program would be administered by the
Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and would provide the same level of
benefits as the Uniform Group Insurance Program provides state employees.
The state would be required to contribute a per employee/retiree amount
equal to the amount the state contributes for state employees.
Currently, state policy is to pay for 100% of the cost of employee-only
and retiree-only coverage.  The state would not be required to pay for
dependent coverage.  Participation by the school districts in the program
would be mandatory.

The bill increases the tax rate for several state taxes.  The sales and
use tax is increased from 6.25% to 7.25%.  The hotel tax is increased
from 6% to 7%.  The franchise tax is increased from 4.5 % of net taxable
earned surplus to 5.5%. The taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel would be
increased from 20 cents to 25 cents per gallon, while the tax on
liquefied gas would increase from 15 cents to 20 cents per gallon.
Additionally, the annual tax assessed on operators of vehicles propelled
by liquefied gas would be increased by one-third.  The revenue increases
from the higher tax rates would be deposited into the newly created Texas
School Employees Uniform Group Benefits Trust Fund, which would then be
used by TRS to pay claims and administrative expenses for the program.

The bill amends the Education Code to allow, with local district or
county voter approval, a new ad valorem tax to be levied for district or
county participation in the new Texas school employees group health
program.  The tax rate would not count towards the current $1.50
maintenance and operations tax rate cap.  The General Appropriations Act
would have to specify, for each year, the effective tax rate that school
districts could levy to participate in the new insurance program.  Each
year, the Comptroller would certify to each school district the tax
required and the amount of ad valorem revenue necessary to participate in
the program.

The provision that would allocate motor fuels tax revenues for group
benefits takes effect January 1, 2002, but only if the constitutional
amendment proposed by the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001,
dedicating increases in the rate of a motor fuel tax to fund group
benefits for employees of school districts were to take effect.  If the
proposed constitutional amendment were not approved, the dedication
would not take effect.
Program Costs

For fiscal year 2002, TRS estimates that start-up costs would total
$75,000,000.  Based on a similar program in another state, TRS estimates
that it would need approximately 100 full-time equivalent employees to
administer this statewide program.  Part of the cost could be funded with
the remaining balances from the $10 annual fee collected from active
employees in 1993-1996, estimated to be $23,000,000.  Total cost for
fiscal year 2002 is in addition to the $181,035,657 currently in the
General Appropriations Act, as introduced, for TRS-Care, the existing
program for retirees.

TRS estimates that the cost of providing UGIP-comparable coverage to
employees and retirees will total $2.474 billion in fiscal year 2003.
Approximately 712,000 employees and retirees would be covered, at an
annual per member cost of $3,473.  By fiscal year 2006, the per member
cost is projected to increase to $4,613, based on projected increases in
health care costs ranging from 6-8% for medical claims, and 13-20% for
prescription drug claims.  Program participation is projected to increase
to 784,870 by fiscal year 2006.  TRS estimates that the number of active
employees will increase by 3% annually, and the number of retirees will
increase by 4.4% annually.  Total cost of coverage for fiscal year 2006
is estimated to be $3.620 billion.

For fiscal year 2003, the projected cost of $2.474 billion is partially
offset by the $268 million currently in the General Appropriations Act,
as introduced, for TRS-Care since that program would cease operation in
fiscal year 2003 under the provisions of this bill.


The estimate of revenue effects is based upon analyses done by the
Comptroller's Office.

The fiscal implications of raising the state sales and use tax rate to
7.25 percent were estimated using current state sales and use tax revenue
projections from the 2002-2003 Biennial Revenue Estimate.  The
incremental increase was adjusted for behavioral responses, effective
date, and projected through 2006.  There would be no impact on units of
local government.  Note:  Article 8, Section 7-a of the Texas
Constitution dedicates sales taxes collected on the sale of motor
lubricants to the State Highway Fund 0006.  This analysis assumes that
the dedication would continue and that these revenues would not go to the
trust fund.  The increase in sales tax revenues would range from
$1,724.8 million in fiscal year 2002 to $2,636.1 million in fiscal year

Under current law, the state hotel occupancy tax rate is 6.0 percent, and
revenue collected from the tax is deposited to the credit of the General
Revenue Fund 0001.  Estimated 2002-2003 revenue from hotel occupancy tax
forms the basis for the incremental gain in revenue resulting from the
tax rate increase.  The gross estimates were adjusted for effective date
and projected through 2006.  The increase in hotel occupancy tax revenues
would range from $44.4 million in fiscal year 2002 to $66.6 million in
fiscal year 2006.

The franchise tax estimate is based on the amount of tax collected on
taxable earned surplus at the existing tax rate and adjusted to reflect
the incremental increase in the tax rate.  The difference between the
original tax amount and the increased amount would be credited to the
trust fund.  The estimate assumes that the franchise tax collected on net
taxable capital is unaffected and is credited to the general revenue
fund.  Although the effective date of the franchise tax provision is
either July 1 or September 1, 2001, the fiscal impact is assumed to begin
in fiscal year 2002.  The increase in franchise tax revenues would range
from $339.7 million in fiscal year 2002 to $429.1 million in fiscal year

The current tax rate for gasoline and diesel fuel is $0.20 per gallon.
This bill would raise the tax rate to $0.25.  The current tax rate for
liquefied gas is $0.15 per gallon. This bill would raise the rate to
$0.20.  Estimates of increased tax revenues were obtained by adjusting
the Comptroller's 2002-2003 Biennial Revenue Estimate to reflect the
increased tax rate.  The resulting incremental gains for 2002 and 2003
were adjusted for changes in consumer behavior due to increased prices
and effective date.  Note:  This estimate assumes that a constitutional
amendment dedicating the revenue from  increases in the rate of a motor
fuel tax to fund group benefits for employees of school districts would
be passed by the voters.  If the amendment did not pass, there is some
ambiguity concerning the final disposition of the motor fuel taxes
subject to tax between September 1, 2001 and November 6, 2001.  The
increase in fuel tax revenues would range from $625.5 million in fiscal
year 2002 to $795.12 million in fiscal year 2006.

The preceding fiscal impacts from increases in the sales tax, hotel
occupancy tax, franchise tax, and motor fuels taxes reflect the static
effect of the tax increases.  Overall impact shown in the table above
reflects the estimated dynamic tax feedback effects and will not match
the cumulative totals of the individual items.

If it is assumed that all school districts participate and contribute to
the school district employee insurance program required under this bill,
at a tax rate of 6.7 cents the School Employees Primary Health Coverage
Fund would receive an estimated $604 million beginning in fiscal year
2003.  This revenue offsets the amount the state would otherwise

For the tax rate established by the General Appropriations Act to be one
that would adequately fund the proposed insurance program for school
district employees, it would have to be based on projections tied to the
targeted state contribution for future group insurance program costs, as
well as projected district property values and district participation in
the proposed program. However, a key determining factor for identifying
the tax rate and related local funding, the state contribution for future
insurance premiums, is not identified in the bill.

The bill would reduce a school district's tax rate by an amount equal to
the portion of the tax rate associated with the district's group
insurance expenditures in the final year of the preceding biennium for
the first school year the proposed group insurance program is in effect.
This would result in savings to Tier 2 state aid, but these savings will
depend on the extent to which school districts participate in the new
program. Based on an 18 percent total group insurance expenditure growth
assumption (three percent employee growth and 15 percent insurance cost
per employee growth), the state would experience an annual savings,
associated with Tier 2 state aid, beginning in fiscal year 2003 of $576
million if all school districts participate and contribute to the
proposed insurance program.
Local Government Impact
Implementation of a health insurance program to be funded under the
provisions of this bill would have cost implications for local school
districts. School districts will be required to use existing resources or
levy additional taxes to fund the program.  In 1999-2000, school
districts contributed more than $900 million to employee health insurance
benefits.  To the extent that a district is already contributing to a
health insurance program, there may be little or no additional cost, or
even a savings.  For the districts who are not paying as much for health
insurance the additional taxes levied will represent an additional

School districts, in some cases, may experience tax rate increases or
decreases as a result of their participation in the health insurance
program.  Because the bill does not define the tax rate needed to
participate, no specific revenue projection for the local tax can be
made.  Revenues would also vary by the degree to which districts choose
to participate.
Source Agencies:   701   Texas Education Agency, 304   Comptroller of
                   Public Accounts
LBB Staff:         JK, CT, SC, SM, RN