By Texas State Senator Tan Parker
Since taking the oath to serve the people of Senate District 12, I have heard many incredible ideas about strengthening Texas’ future. This brings incredible energy into the work that is taking place at your Texas Capitol during the 88th Legislative Session.
On January 10, your Texas Legislature convened taking up the people’s business over the course of 140 days. Over 2,000 bills have already been filed, yet our Texas Constitution only requires state lawmakers to pass a single bill – a balanced budget for the upcoming two years. As the 9th largest economy in the world, Texas has a long history of conservative state budgets that have kept our state spending fiscally responsible while still funding critical priorities, making the Lone Star State a leader for our Nation.
When lawmakers last convened in 2021, Texas was mitigating the tremendous challenges of a global pandemic. The legislature was tasked to fund our state facing a $1 billion budget shortfall. History has proven that Texas weathers economic storms best when we do not raise taxes nor place costly burdens on taxpayers, but instead work to unleash our innovation, resources, and determination with sensible policies that empower the free market while cutting government regulation and spending.
Entering this new year, Texas’ economic engine has remained very strong which is a testament to the people who call our great state home. Texas’ conservative model continues to produce incredible economic growth resulting in greater prosperity and job creation. Texas is number one in the Nation for jobs, proving once again that we are a state that works hard and creates opportunities.
Texas’ budget revenue forecast increased by 26%, positioning the Lone Star State with an almost $33 billion historic surplus. Comparatively, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is grappling with a $23 billion deficit, leaving some lawmakers to propose levying a tax on those leaving for states like Texas.
At the end of January, both the Texas Senate and House budget proposals were filed (Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1, respectively). This process enables lawmakers to work collectively towards passing the final budget for our state, keeping the same conservative values that have helped protect our economic vitality while also preparing for future challenges. As your state senator, I want to make certain your legislature always honors taxpayers so you can keep more of your hard-earned dollars, while also making certain we are funding our priorities for a brighter future. You can expect many debates before a fiscally accountable budget for the next biennium is agreed upon by both legislative chambers and signed by Governor Greg Abbott.
In the Senate, we will begin the budget process with discussions centered upon many areas including $15 billion in property tax relief starting with the homestead exemption increasing to $70,000. Other highlights in the proposed Texas budget will include making Texans safer through additional investments in public safety from our border to our schools. We will continue to invest in K-12 and higher education for future generations, reflecting our diverse workforce and robust industry sectors. The budget also includes developing increased teacher pay and a 13th check for retired teachers or a cost-of-living adjustment, along with strong investments in healthcare, foster care, and infrastructure as Texas’ growth continues.
Our vast state has many additional areas the legislature must address, and much work takes place in legislative committees. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has assigned each of the 31 senators their committees, and I was honored to be named to serve on 6 of the 15 standing committees. I am working on critical policies impacting our Nation’s heroes as your vice chairman of Veteran Affairs as well as serving on the following key committees for our state: Education, Transportation, State Affairs, Local Government, and Administration. You can follow the work of these and other committees, as well as track every bill, at www.capitol.texas.gov.
Additionally, I am working on several legislative priorities and am grateful for the engagement of Senate District 12. Keeping my commitment to public safety, I filed Senate Bill 378 upon being sworn in to hold accountable district attorneys who willfully disregard Texas law, placing the public at risk. We simply cannot afford to endanger Texans when rogue district attorneys decide to legislate from their desks, failing to enforce entire classes of crime. I am also continuing my work on protecting children, fighting human trafficking, increasing prescription drug transparency, strengthening our border, safeguarding our most vulnerable, enhancing our grid, preserving our natural resources, and growing Texas’ workforce to name a few.
I hope you will participate in the process to keep Texas the beacon of hope for generations to come. Please stay in touch at [email protected] or call 512.463.0112. You can also find updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube by following @TanParkerTX.