By Peggy Fikac
AUSTIN — The state would funnel millions more federal dollars into promoting healthy marriages among low-income Texans under a proposal pushed by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, and others.
Chisum put a provision in the state budget being developed by the panel that would direct up to $4.8 million more annually from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant into a healthy marriages initiative.
That would more than double current spending from all sources on the program overseen by the Health and Human Services Commission, which contracts with organizations around the state. (There are similar initiatives that don't flow through the commission.)
Texas is moving in the right direction. Some people might think that the money ought to be earmarked for something that is a little more tangible (like welfare or highway repair). However, keeping families strong and cohesive is a much better way out of poverty. If this initiative works, we have say goodbye to one of filmdoms great stock characters, the deadbeat Texan dad. They can just replace him with the overbearing football coach and it will be a wash.