Legislative Update: House and Senate Unveil Budget Plans
As the Legislature is getting started on the Legislative Session, both the House and Senate have now unveiled their budget plans. Below is an update from the Chamber's Legislative Consultant, Angela Hale with Red Media Group.
Texas House and Senate Unveil Budget Plans
Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) released their chambers’ respective budget plans on Monday. Sen. Nelson announced the filing of Senate Bill 1, which reflects a 1.5 percent across-the-board budget cut that exempts the Foundation School Program. Speaker Straus laid out the House’s plan, which increases state spending by less than 1 percent. Both plans fund expected public school student enrollment of more than 160,000 kids for the 2018-19 biennium, which the Senate plan pegs at around $2.65 billion.
The House plan includes an additional $1.5 billion for public education if legislators pass a bill that reduces recapture of local property tax revenue and improves equity within the school finance system. SB 1 increases the Instructional Materials Allotment by $29.6 million; provides an additional $32 million for high quality pre-kindergarten; continues current funding for Communities in Schools; and includes $5 million for Pathways in Technology Early College High School.
The Senate plan adds $260 million to address Child Protective Services needs, while the House plan calls for $268 million. The House plan proposes a funding increase for mental and behavioral health services of $162 million, whereas the Senate plan includes $63 million to eliminate waitlists for community mental health services.
SB 1 includes $800 million to maintain border security measures approved last session.
The initial House plan appropriates $108.9 billion in General Revenue, while the Senate version allocates $103.6 billion. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said legislators will have $104.9 billion available for the next biennium in his Biennial Revenue Estimate last week.
Detailed information on both the House and Senate proposed budgets can be found on the Legislative Budget Board website. Read Speaker Straus’ and Sen. Nelson’s news releases.