Texas legislators Senator Chuy Hinojosa and Representative J.D. Sheffield have filed legislation to tax nursing home residents paying for their own care. Known as the Granny Tax, Senate Bill 1130 and House Bill 2766 would generate state revenue by taxing elderly residents of nursing homes. Nursing home residents would each carry a tax bill of over $4,000 per year. The bill would tax 30,000 nursing home residents a total of over $120 million dollars. “The legislation balances the state budget on the backs of elderly veterans, retired teachers, and other Texans paying for their own nursing home expenses,” says George Linial, President of LeadingAge Texas, the association representing non-profit nursing homes.
C.C. Young, a faith-based retirement community in Dallas, would see residents hit hard by the tax. Russell Crews, President & CEO, sees the legislation as an unacceptable route to generate state revenue. “We are asking the generation that has already sacrificed so much to now pay a significant and unfair tax. We hope legislators make the right choice and find quality of care solutions that are paid for by all Texans, not just those that are sick and aging.”
In San Antonio, Air Force and Army veterans would be forced to pay the Granny Tax. Retired Air Force Lt. General, Chip Utterback, is now on a mission to defend retired veterans from the scope of this tax. “This is not the way to fill a hole in the state budget. This tax will put much needed care out of reach for many of our vets.”
Many of the nation’s largest for-profit nursing home chains are pushing the tax to improve Medicaid funding. However, a recent report by AARP indicates that Texas nursing home quality is among the worst in the nation. “This tax simply throws money at a problem without linking funding to quality. It’s unfortunate that care for those paying their own way might now be jeopardized,” said Utterback.
Rather than taxing elderly residents of nursing homes, LeadingAge Texas supports tying state funding to quality of care. “As Texans, we pride ourselves in minimizing the number of taxes on our citizens and a granny tax seems inconsistent with that sentiment,” says Linial. The Texas Legislature is almost mid-way through its legislative session, as bills continue to wind their way through the legislative maze.