FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/01/2015
Statement from State Representative Justin Rodriguez on House Budget for 2016-2017 Biennium
AUSTIN—Today, State Representative Justin Rodriguez released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted 141-5 to pass HB 1, the General Appropriations Bill, and 148-0 to pass HB 2, the supplemental appropriations bill:
After nearly two months of committee work, 17 hours of debate on the floor yesterday, and a few more hours today, I voted to pass the budget bill out of the House. Many early mornings and late nights were spent combing over documents leading to the passage of this comprehensive legislation. I was honored to serve on the Appropriations Committee this session and play a part in the process. HB 1 sends more than $2 billion to school districts and charter schools through the basic allotment (plus an additional $800 million contingent on passage of Rep. Aycock’s HB 1759) and an additional $1.5 billion to TxDOT to maintain and improve our highways — two issues that were certainly deserving of prioritization from the House. HB 2 fully funds TRS-Care, a vital program for our retirees that the Legislature needed to focus on and that will fulfill our obligation to the Texans who dedicated their lives to helping our children secure a bright future.
While I voted for the General Appropriations Bill, I acknowledge that there is room for improvement: From pushing for additional money to fund quality, full-day pre-K to closing the health care coverage gap, it’s clear to me that there are still essential issues owed the Legislature’s consideration — before we move on to billions of dollars in tax cuts. It’s my hope that our conferees will work together with the Senate to ensure the best budget possible for the next two years.