The Texas Senate last week approved the Committee Substitute to House Bill 1, the Senate’s version of the appropriations bill, sponsored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
The bill establishes the state’s budget priorities for the next two years, according to a news release from Nelson’s office.
“This a compassionate, fiscally responsible, forward-looking budget that will keep Texas strong and prosperous for years to come,” Nelson said. “It is the product of hours of careful deliberations in committee — and reflects input from the entire Senate. This budget prioritizes tax relief and ensures that classroom teachers receive a well-deserved pay raise. It also provides additional funding for school districts and ensures that we are meeting our responsibility to our most vulnerable citizens.”
CSHB 1 appropriates $116.8B in General Revenue and $247.7B in All Funds. These totals are within constitutional spending limits and population times inflation with 7.6 percent growth over FY 18-19 in General Revenue and 5.1 percent growth in All Funds, according to Nelson’s office. CSHB 1 sets aside $9B for property tax relief, teacher pay and additional state aid to school district. Specifically, it includes:
- $4B to give every teacher and librarian a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise;
- $2.7B for property tax relief and reducing the reliance on recapture;
- $2.3B in additional state aid to school districts;
- $2.4B to fund enrollment growth for public education, based on an estimated 65,000 additional students per year;
- $230M to maintain current health insurance premiums and benefits for our retired teachers;
- $157M to maintain the state’s ratio of 1.1 graduate medical education slots for every medical school graduate in the state;
- an increase of $529.9M for higher education, including:
- $189.9M for enrollment growth;
- a 4-percent increase to our general academic institutions; and
- a 19-percent increase to our community college success points.
- an additional $55M to increase outpatient community mental health treatment and avoid waitlists;
- funding for 20 additional community inpatient psychiatric beds;
- a $35M increase for women’s health – bringing funding for women’s health to a new all-time high;
- an additional $5M to provide enhanced services to victims of family violence;
- an increase of $19.3M to reduce caseloads at Child Protective Services;
- $7.5M in new funding for rape crisis centers;
- $49.8M in additional funding for state crime labs with a prioritization of sexual assault kits;
- approval of all agency requests related to combatting human trafficking totaling $90.6M;
- $1.2M to leverage a $23.3M federal grant to improve election security;
- $193M to address wait times at our driver license offices;
- $3.7M to establish nine new child protection courts;
- an additional $4.3M for judicial training, and a directive to ensure that judges are educated about mental health resources their communities;
- more than $1B across state agencies to address cybersecurity, replace legacy systems and upgrade information technology;
- $31B to address the state’s transportation needs, including the full transfer to the State Highway Fund under Proposition 7;
- 100-percent appropriation of the sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Historical Commission;
- $28.1M to improve technology at the Railroad Commission and hire 22 additional oil and gas and pipeline safety inspectors;
- $1.2B, an increase of $73.3M in All Funds, for food and nutrition programs at the Texas Department of Agriculture, including: the Surplus Food Program, home-delivered meals for at-risk adults and children, School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and After School Care Program;
- $2.6M to create a new Skimmer Fraud Unit at the Texas Department of Agriculture for the implementation of a detection, investigation, and enforcement program that will crack down on fuel pump credit card skimmers; and
- $5.1M at the Texas Board of Pharmacy to fully implement the Prescription Monitoring Program workflow integration system.