Tuesday, January 15th, Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick were sworn into office on the steps of the Texas Capitol,  followed by a Texas-sized inauguration which included King of Country George Strait headlining the event.  

Since returning to Austin, Abbott, Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen continue to highlight their priorities of property tax reductions and school finance reform.    

The House proposed approximately $7 billion in more state funds for public education.  This included $109 million for school safety measures and $12 million for children’s mental health programs.   

This proposal would withdraw approximately $633 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the “Rainy Day Fund,” which sits at approximately $12 billion and is anticipated to grow to almost $15 billion by 2021.

Important to note: to cover the additional spending, the proposed House budget would decrease funding for health and human services programs by approximately 3.2 percent. For example, that would include a $1.4 billion decrease in Medicaid, federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled.     

The Senate budget proposes an additional $3.7 billion for education to provide $5,000 pay raises to all full-time classroom teachers.

This already sets the Senate and the House at $3.2 billion dollars apart in public school discretionary spending.  Expect much debate about funding levels on these issues. 

Remember nearly 90 percent of the overall state budget goes to support just three things: education, health care and transportation.

See the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda here

 

A few other state budget proposals:

An additional $2.1 billion for Child Protective Services.

$84.5 million to fight human trafficking in the Texas Senate proposal.

$782.5 million for border security in the House proposal and $803.1 million in the Senate proposal.

$109.4 million more for school safety in the House proposal.

Lastly, expect a conversation about the more than $12 billion dollars in the Rainy Day Fund and how large that should grow before accessing it for stabilization.   

With more than 1,200 bills filed, there is plenty to follow as we move through the process. 

Monday, January 21st is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; thus the House and Senate will return Tuesday, January 22.  

 

Important Legislative Dates

Friday, March 8                                 60th Day; Final day to file unrestricted bills

Thursday & Friday March 6 & 7     Tarrant County Days at the State Capitol

Monday, May 27                                140th Day, Session Ends

Sunday, June 16                                Deadline for governor to veto a bill

Sunday, September 1                        Effective date for most new legislation

 

Join us at Tarrant County Days at the Capitol in Austin March 6-7

 

For more information please contact:

Rebecca Montgomery, Senior Vice President Advocacy

Email: Rmontgomery@fortworthchamber.com

Office: (817) 338 – 1807

 

Maribel Gallardo, Advocacy Specialist

Email: MGallardo@fortworthchamber.com

Office: (817) 338 – 3322