Nelson files Senate base budget

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Senator Jane Nelson confers with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in the Senate.

Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, last week filed Senate Bill 1, the Senate’s base budget, beginning the legislative process for developing the state’s FY 2022-23 biennial budget.

“Texas’ economic strength — and the work we did to scrutinize agency budgets — puts us in a better than anticipated position to keep our commitment to education, defeat the coronavirus and invest in our economic recovery,” Nelson said. “SB 1 funds essential services, keeps up with growth and meets our obligations to vulnerable citizens. It is a starting point. We have many tools available to balance this budget, which will require us to re-establish our priorities, stretch every dollar and find more efficient ways to deliver services.”

SB 1, as filed, appropriates $251.2 billion in All Funds and $119.7 billion in General Revenue, according to a news release from Nelson’s office. This represents 4% growth in General Revenue, is well within population and inflation and reflects the 5 percent reductions agencies were asked to make in the current biennium. Highlights of SB 1 include:

  • Funding for the full Foundation School Program entitlement, reflecting changes made last session to the school finance formula, including:
    • $3.1 billion to fund enrollment growth for public education, based on an estimated 36,000 additional students per year;
    • $1 billion in additional state aid related to property tax compression in the 2022-23 biennium;
  • $5 billion, an increase of $452.8 million, for payroll growth and continued reforms to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) passed last session through SB 12;
  • $897.6 million, an increase of $39.5 million, for statutorily required contributions to TRS-Care to maintain current health insurance premiums and benefits for our retired teachers;
  • $8.1 billion to fund higher education institution formulas;
  • Maintained funding for Graduate Medical Education formulas;
  • Funding to cover projected caseloads for the Medicaid program;
  • Combined projected funding of $8 billion for mental health across 24 state agencies, including:
    • an increase of $19.5 million to maintain operations for the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium;
    • over $1 million in new funding for Senator Nelson’s SB 64, to create a peer-to-peer counseling network and increase access to licensed mental health providers for Texas Law Enforcement Officers;
    • $145 million to continue community mental health grant programs;
  • $352.6 million, an increase of $10.2 million, for women’s health programs, including the continuation of the Healthy Texas Women program’s enhanced post-partum care services implemented by the Legislature last session;
  • Lower target caseloads for conservatorship workers at Child Protective Services;
  • $589 million to continue funding for Community Based Care catchment areas authorized by the Legislature;
  • $7 million to maintain funding for Maternal Mortality and Morbidity safety initiatives as well as public awareness and prevention activities;
  • Funding for priority victims assistance programs, including $29.7 million for Rape Crisis Centers and $1.8 million for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program;
  • $57.6 million across all articles to continue fighting human trafficking through prevention, detection, victim services and the justice system;
  • $1.3 million to perform necessary maintenance on the Texas Election Administration Management System, which manages voter registrations in Texas;
  • $271.2 million to meet the contract obligations of the Guaranteed Tuition Plan for Texas college students, providing a more affordable college experience for Texas families;
  • $128.5 million to fund Department of Public Safety Crime Lab services, including maintaining prioritization and timely testing of sexual assault kits;
  • $39.1 million in new appropriations to fortify security at the Texas Capitol, including additional troopers and enhanced safety measures;
  • $30.4 billion to the Texas Department of Transportation to address the state’s transportation needs, including $26.4 billion dedicated for highway planning, design, construction, and maintenance;
  • 100 percent appropriation of estimated available sporting goods sales tax, totaling $332.3 million to support state parks and historical sites;
  • $10.2 million for the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant Program at the Texas Department of Agriculture, a continuation of 2020-21 appropriated levels to support Texas food banks;
  • Maintained $36.9 million to address structural repair, operation, and maintenance of earthen flood control dams;
  • Increase of $19.2 million for air quality and monitoring, water quality and monitoring, and operations at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and
  • $21.5 million in capital budget authority for Phase II of the Mainframe Transformation IT Project at the Texas Railroad Commission, which will replace aging technology to allow for a more efficient and secure application process.
Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

About The Author

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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