Texas is a large state and they have big ideas there. It’s no wonder that a BIG IDEA IMPACT STUDY comes from there.
Yesterday, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Texas Supreme Court hosted a news conference to underscore a funding crisis in the Texas legal aid system. The group also announced an impact study by The Perryman Group entitled The Impact of Legal Aid Services on Economic Activity in Texas: An Analysis of Current Efforts and Expansion Potential.
o Currently, legal aid services lead to a sizable stimulus to the Texas economy. The Perryman Group estimated the gain in business activity to include an annual $457.6 million in spending, $219.7 million in output (gross product), and 3,171 jobs.
o For every direct dollar expended in the state for indigent civil legal services, the overall annual gains to the economy are found to be $7.42 in total spending, $3.56 in output (gross product), and $2.20 in personal income.
o Moreover, this activity generates approximately $30.5 million in yearly fiscal revenues to State and local governmental entities, which is well above their approximately $4.8 million in contributions.
There is a large unmet need for legal aid, and increased funding (and, thus, assistance) would lead to further gains in business activity in addition to the other social benefits of more equitable access.
The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is especially interested in what comes out of Texas because of Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill’s role in helping South Carolina establish our own Commission. Not only that, but the Texas Access to Justice Community has been a trendsetter in the national access to justice community.
Certainly food for thought. We can all use all the help we can get!