AUSTIN -- The Legislative Budget Board voted unanimously Monday to expand law enforcement’s presence along the Texas-Mexico border, adding significant manpower to security operations that state leaders approved last summer.
The Budget Board voted to spend an additional $86 million on increased border-security efforts between now and the end of the current fiscal year on Aug. 31. Most of that money will pay for additional overtime for Department of Public Safety (DPS) personnel. According to DPS estimates, this effort is equivalent to adding 640 more DPS personnel in the border region.
The additional resources will also fund additional equipment and technology, as well as more aircraft flight time.
Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus agreed to the border-security proposal before it went to Budget Board for approval. Earlier this year, the three state leaders directed more state resources to DPS operations in the border region.
“Today’s vote doesn’t just continue our commitment to border security. It increases it,” said Speaker Straus, San Antonio. “Expanding DPS’s presence is the most effective way to use these resources and protect Texans.”
The proposal approved Monday will also continue the involvement of Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens in the state’s border security efforts through Aug. 31. In addition, it funds the deployment of Texas National Guard troops, at reduced levels, through March 31.
The Budget Board’s vote continued a legislative commitment to border security that has spanned several years. Funding for border security has tripled since 2009.
Also Monday, the Board voted 10-0 to set a limit on state spending for the next two-year budget. The Texas Constitution requires that spending that is not constitutionally dedicated should stay beneath estimates of economic growth over the budget cycle. The Budget Board was given four projections of economic growth over the next two years and chose to set the spending limit using the most conservative growth projection.
The Legislative Budget Board is co-chaired by the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor. It also includes four Members of the House and four Senators.
Jason Embry or Erin Daly