For over a decade now a number of nursing home operators have been trying to get lawmakers to impose a tax on nursing home residents that will allow the operators to pull down additional dollars for themselves from the federal government. They will try to call it assessments, fees, or levies, but however it gets dressed up, it’s a granny tax.
Sources around the Capitol say lobbyists are shopping the granny tax around to offices, looking for lawmakers willing to file it. No legislation has yet been filed in either chamber. Legislators should consider the history of the tax, which was explained in a February 2018 Texas Scorecard article by Sal Ayala.
Dr. Deane Waldman at the Texas Public Policy Foundation wrote that the 2017 effort made no assurances that money generated from the granny tax “will be spent on patient care as opposed to corporate profits or administrative overhead.” Gatesville Republican J.D. Sheffield pushed the granny tax passed throught the House, but with a majority of the Republicans opposing the measure. The Senate version of the granny tax, sponsored by Democrat State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa of McAllen, died without a receiving a vote on the floor.
Following the 2018 election, seen by some as a rebuke of Republicans for having failed to deliver tangible relief and reform for taxpayers, it seems unlikely that the GOP majority in either chamber of the Texas Legislature would want to spend 2019 attempting to levy any new taxes, let alone a nursing home tax on senior citizens.