House panel set to advance biennial Texas budget with property tax cuts, teacher pay raises

The proposal recommends spending billions on programs including property tax cuts, teacher pay raises, mental health services and border security. It leaves out requests for pay raises for retired state employees and funding for rent relief and childcare programs.

House panel set to advance biennial Texas budget with property tax cuts, teacher pay raises

A key Texas House panel was poised on Thursday to give final approval to a two-year spending plan that includes property tax cuts, border security initiatives, and the first pay raises for state employees and teachers in more than a decade.

The House Appropriations Committee’s signoff on the 2024-25 plan with at least $130 billion in general revenue will move the proposal to the full House. The committee’s budget plan also recommends an additional $5 billion for public schools, more funding for higher education, $3 billion to boost mental health services, and another $3.5 billion for cost-of-living adjustments for retired teachers — their first in nearly 20 years.

But at a time when the state has a historic $32.7 billion surplus and record amounts of cash in reserves, the two-year budget before the House Appropriations Committee comes in well under the amount they have available to spend — and yet leaves out tens of billions in requests ranging from affordable child care and rent relief programs to pay hikes for state retirees.

It also tables some $350 million in requests from Gov. Greg Abbott to replenish his disaster and economic-development accounts, which can be used to fund migrant busing programs, disaster recovery and grants. The funds are viewed by his critics as slush funds with little lawmaker oversight how they are spent. The budget also rebuffs, at least for now, a request by the Texas Facilities Commission to upgrade its border operations, including bridges, fences, cameras and ground sensors.

The committee’s budget proposal, which is more than 1,000 pages and could change before Thursday’s vote, is expected to hit the House floor for debate right before Easter weekend. The new version is the culmination of 95 hours of testimony by more than 700 witnesses from across the state in 25 separate public hearings over the past six weeks.

After it leaves the House floor in about two weeks, with more anticipated changes, the proposal will go to the Senate Finance Committee, which has been working similarly to craft its own version of how Texas should spend its money in the next two years.

Once the Senate passes its plan, the two chambers will attempt hammer out the differences in a series of nonpublic meetings over the next month before presenting a compromise bill to both chambers for a final vote in late May.

It would then go to Abbott, who has line-item veto power in the budget, and then to the state comptroller to certify that the budget is balanced, as required by the Texas Constitution.

Budget writers, led in both chambers by Republicans, have said they are determined not to break spending caps that severely limit their ability to spend all of the estimated $188.2 billion in general revenue expected to be available to them in the next budget. In hearings this week, analysts with the Legislative Budget Board told House members that the current budget proposals still appear to come in around $1 billion below the spending limits.

Several budget strategies, including putting the spending before voters in a constitutional amendment election, can help lawmakers avoid those limits with some programs, including property taxes.

The House committee is also expected to approve an $11.5 billion supplemental budget bill that spends $5 billion of the state’s surplus during the current biennium on items including dmitigating electricity rate hikes caused by the 2021 winter storm and school safety measures. That measure passed the full Senate last week.

State leaders learned in January that lawmakers would be convening their 140-day session with a treasury balance higher than the budgets of nearly half the states in the U.S. — even as the nation faces a potential recession. The Legislature convened for its 2023 session on Jan. 10. Passing a balanced budget is its only constitutional obligation during the session.

It was unclear in the hours before the committee meeting exactly how much money the bill will spend, but specifics are expected to be released closer to the vote later Thursday. As initially filed, the House and Senate versions propose $130.1 billion in general revenue spending and nearly $289 billion in state and federal funds for the cycle that starts in September.

Committee changes are likely to shift that number upward, according to documents posted by the LBB. Strong pushes to add more money are continuing, including pressure to give retired state employees a financial boost, as the state appears to be doing for retired teachers, and additional targeted raises to employees in agencies that are particularly overwhelmed.

“Turnover is higher in state government than ever, so the two 5% pay raises [for state employees over the next two years] will finally help agencies recruit and retain good employees,” said Ann Bishop, executive director of the Texas Public Employees Association, which advocates for state workers, among other groups. “We hope the budget can also include targeted raises for agencies that have identified critical needs and a pension boost for retired employees — who haven’t had one since 2001.”

The marquee item in the House budget bill is a $17 billion buy-down of school property taxes. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $16.5 billion property tax relief package with proposals targeting the taxes homeowners pay and requiring school districts to lower their tax rates.

Just like in the Senate, budget writers in the House want to use at least $5.3 billion from the state’s surplus to lower property taxes.

The House’s chief tax cut proposal contains an additional $12 billion in school property tax cuts. The most controversial element would tighten a cap on how much the value of a homeowner’s main residence taxed by school districts can rise each year — a proposal that has drawn opposition from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, the Republicans driving thes Senate plan, as well as tax-cut advocates and business lobbying groups.

Children at risk

House budget writers are expected to add new funding for a $33.6 million behavioral health campus in Uvalde, the site of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting last year. That facility would include an outpatient clinic, a 16-bed crisis respite or residential facility for adults and another for children.

The panel also approved $23.9 million for the local mental health authority to operate the Uvalde facility and another $30.5 million to expand access to therapy services for at-risk youth and families in the area.

While the budget includes $100 million for rate increases for foster care providers. Budget writers tabled a request for $45 million to care for those staying in group homes or sleeping in state offices.

And even as some 44% of child care programs in Texas say they may close after federal COVID-19 relief payments dry up later this year, lawmakers declined to commit to a proposal for more than $2 billion in the Texas Workforce Commission’s budget for child care funding.

“The Legislature needs to provide funding to keep high-quality child care open for working parents,” said David Feigen, director of Early Learning at Texans Care for Children. “The child care crisis in Texas is getting even worse, as more and more child care providers are saying loud and clear that they are getting close to shutting down. The only question is whether the Legislature is listening.”

Disclosure: Texans Care for Children has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

We can’t wait to welcome you Sept. 21-23 to the 2023 Texas Tribune Festival, our multiday celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day’s news — all taking place just steps away from the Texas Capitol. When tickets go on sale in May, Tribune members will save big. Donate to join or renew today.

News Related


Fed expected to pause 15-month rate hike campaign next week, survey shows

Fed seen ending its interest rate hike campaign at June meeting, survey shows Read more »

Target shares downgraded again on sales concerns

‘Walmart will gobble up market share,’ analyst says Read more »

Malaysia establishes monitoring and warning system to predict level of fire risk for South-east Asia

SINGAPORE – An early warning monitoring and fire prevention system has been set up by Malaysia for its Asean neighbours, in a bid to reduce hot spots as the warmer ... Read more »

PM Anwar back at Umno assembly after 25 years, as Zahid repeats calls to support unity govt

KUALA LUMPUR – For the first time in 25 years, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim attended the annual general assembly of Umno on Friday, taking a seat at the top table ... Read more »

Bill Murray, Kelis reportedly dating: These are the best social media messages about the couple news

“Ghostbusters” actor Bill Murray and “Milkshake” singer Kelis are reportedly dating — and we use the term reportedly lightly. Neither entertainer has yet confirmed the “news.” Whether it’s happening or ... Read more »

House hunting: Contemporary quarters in Cat Spring ‘an ideal lock and leave weekend retreat’

A 2023 build with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on 11 acres Read more »

Indie artist Caroline Rose is proud of new album’s vulnerability, despite moments of regret

Indie artist Caroline Rose is proud of new album’s vulnerability, despite moments of regret During a recent performance at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, indie musician Caroline Rose disappeared ... Read more »

S’pore student suffers fracture, memory loss after all-terrain vehicle hits tree in Bali

SINGAPORE – A Singaporean student on holiday fractured his left cheekbone and suffered memory loss after the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) he was riding crashed into a coconut tree in Ubud, ... Read more »

Majority of British Columbians give ER wait times a failing grade: poll

More than half of British Columbians who’ve landed in the hospital emergency room in the last six months say they’ve faced unacceptable wait times, according to a new poll. The ... Read more »

Campaign aims to put spotlight on children killed by Iranian regime

Nine-year-old Iranian boy Kian Pirfalak had dreams of becoming a robotics engineer one day. His young life was taken on Nov. 16, 2022 when he was shot and killed while ... Read more »

Who wins the real North-South war? As a new study says Greggs and Pret A Manger represent the true social divide in Britain we dive into the pasties and sausage rolls to find which is tastiest - and best value for money

Forget politics, the weather or how you pronounce ‘scone’ . . . the true North-South divide, it seems, is found in what you eat for lunch. If you’re partial to ... Read more »

Dangerous dog that mauled grandmother to death as she lay on sun lounger in her garden has been put down

The dog, which is understood to be a banned breed, was 'euthanised yesterday' The lady - who was in her 70s - was declared dead at the scene in WarwickshireMan and a woman arrested on suspicion of possession of a banned breed of dog Read more »

Prince Harry stayed at Frogmore Cottage during short visit to UK — and didn’t see family

Prince Harry reportedly stayed at the Frogmore Cottage, where King Charles evicted him from earlier this year, during his latest trip to the UK. Shutterstock Prince Harry reportedly stayed at ... Read more »

4 children lost for weeks in Colombian jungle after plane crash found alive

Four children from an Indigenous community in Colombia were found alive in the country’s south on Friday more than five weeks after the plane they were travelling in crashed in ... Read more »

4 children lost for 40 days after a plane crash are found alive in Colombian jungle

In this photo released by Colombia’s Armed Forces Press Office, a soldier stands in front of the wreckage of a Cessna C206, May 18, 2023, that crashed in the jungle ... Read more »

‘Interact with culture’: 2nd annual Indigenous artisan market kicks off in New Westminster

Shop First Nations and the Arts Council of New Westminster are kicking off their second collaborative New West Craft Indigenous Market on Saturday, with more vendors, food trucks and performers ... Read more »

BBC broadcaster Amol Rajan apologizes for using slur — about seaweed — on air

Conservationist Chris Packham said using the term seaweed puts the marine algae at an “immediate disadvantage.” Getty Images/iStockphoto He needs some kelp. A BBC anchor profusely apologized after an environmentalist ... Read more »

4 kids lost in the jungle for 40 days after a plane crash found alive in Colombia

Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Friday that authorities found alive four children who survived a small plane crash 40 days ago. AP Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Friday that authorities ... Read more »

Kathleen Folbigg: Daughters may have died due to 'incredibly rare' genetic mutation as imprisoned mum pardoned

Kathleen Folbigg was convicted of the murder of daughters Sarah and Laura and son Patrick, and the manslaughter of another son, Caleb. Twenty years on, a professor has named the "rare" condition that her daughters had. Read more »

Asia Markets to Fall as Wall Street's Rally Takes a Breather; Australia Central Bank Decision Ahead

This is CNBC’s live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets. Asia-Pacific markets fell, tracking similar moves on Wall Street after the S&P 500 erased earlier gains that brought the benchmark index to ... Read more »

How Across The Spider-Verse Changed Marvel's Spider-Punk Forever

Movies Animation Sony Pictures/YouTube Five years ago, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” blew the minds of viewers everywhere with its boldly shocking plot twists and the cool new characters that it ... Read more »

Who Voices Clark Kent In My Adventures With Superman?

Television Cartoons Adult Swim/YouTube A new trailer has just been released for the upcoming Adult Swim animated series, “My Adventures with Superman.” The series, which will premiere on July 6, ... Read more »

You Probably Haven't Heard About Miyazaki's Final Studio Ghibli Film - Here's Why

Movies Animation Studio Ghibli Few names in animation are as widely respected as Hayao Miyazaki. The prolific writer, director, and animator has been behind some of the most iconic and ... Read more »

US House panel investigates ties between US Interior secretary, environmentalists

US House panel investigates ties between US Interior secretary, environmentalists Members of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources have launched an investigation into ties between Interior Secretary Deb Haaland ... Read more »

After 6 women found dead, Portland officials warn against serial killer speculation

After 6 women found dead, Portland officials warn against serial killer speculation Six women under the age of 40 have been found dead over the last three months. ByPeter Charalambous ... Read more »

Approval for Idaho phosphate mine reversed after judge rules US didn't assess prairie bird impact

Approval for Idaho phosphate mine reversed after judge rules US didn't assess prairie bird impact A federal judge has yanked the U.S. government's approval for a phosphate mining project in ... Read more »

Oregon is invested in Fox Corp. and is investigating its board over bogus election fraud claims

Oregon is invested in Fox Corp. and is investigating its board over bogus election fraud claims Oregon’s attorney general has announced she has begun investigating the board of directors of ... Read more »

Who Plays Antoinette In The Rookie: Feds?

Television TV Dramas ABC/Raymond Liu Led by Emmy nominee Niecy Nash as Simone Clark, “The Rookie: Feds” features an impressive cast of proven players like Britt Robertson from “Tomorrowland” and ... Read more »

Michael Block comes up short in U.S. Open qualifying bid

Michael Block comes up short in U.S. Open qualifying bid news services June 5, 2023, 8:09 PM Michael Block, the teaching pro who finished tied for 15th at last ... Read more »

Canadian province of Quebec looks for international support to fight wildfires

Canadian province of Quebec looks for international support to fight wildfires Quebec is looking internationally for support as it struggles to battle more than 160 forest fires and federal officials ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự