FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/26/2017
Texas House Leadership Introduces Proposed 2018-2019 Budget
- Weekly Legislative Update 1/23/17 -
(Austin, TX) - The Texas House convened again this past Tuesday and Wednesday to continue preparing the chamber for the upcoming policy debates. In addition, House leadership unveiled a proposal for the 2018-2019 budget.
I am committed to working with my colleagues in producing a fiscally conservative budget that meets the needs of our commitments and obligations as a state, such as Texas public education and reforming our Child Protective Services. We are blessed to live in the state with the financial wherewithal to provide the opportunities to our next generation of Texans and provide comfort and security to the most vulnerable. We can do this without accumulating debt and taxing our citizens out of their businesses and homes.
In regards to public education, the House budget provides funding to pay for the expected enrollment growth of 165,000 students over the next two years. School finance reform will be at the top of my priorities this legislative session. The House budget has set aside at least an extra $1.5 billion for public education in order to facilitate a plan that increases the state share of public education spending, thereby, lowering the local property taxpayer burden and improving equity in the school finance system.
Child Protective Services (CPS) will also see $268 million in funding in order to decrease caseworker turnover and provide the needed resources for quality placements for these vulnerable children. Throughout the interim, I have been engaged in conversations regarding the inefficiencies in the CPS workforce and agree that in order to reduce employee turnover the state must look at higher salaries for qualified employees. It is important for me to remind my fellow citizens that a federal judge in Corpus Christi is supervising our CPS system. We can no longer delay and kick this can down the road. We are under court order from a federal judge.
I was honored to serve on the interim committee on mental health and the proposed budget is one that has taken our input into consideration. Funding for behavioral health has been increased by $162 million that in turn will help eliminate waitlists for mental health services and improve services for our military veterans. The committee’s priorities on early intervention, judicial training, and increased capacity will also benefit from this increase in funding.
The federal government has left the State of Texas to foot the bill for border security. I joined fellow House colleagues in asking Washington D.C. to refund the state for border security expenses. The proposed budget will continue to do what is necessary to provide for safe communities in Southeast Texas. Ultimately, my goal is that the House and Senate will work together to pass a fiscally conservative budget that funds all of our priorities, commitments, and necessities and not get distracted by peripheral issues that do not contribute to our local prosperity, enhance educational opportunities, or result in safe communities.
The Capitol of Texas belongs to you and visiting the Capitol during the biennial legislative session is a great experience. To assist in arranging your visit please call Saul Mendoza, my Chief of Staff, at (512) 463-0490. Or, you can email him at email@example.com.