FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/07/2017
TEXAS HOUSE APPROVES BALANCED BUDGET THAT PRIORITIZES EDUCATION, CHILD PROTECTION
AUSTIN – The Texas House gave overwhelming approval early Friday to a balanced two-year state budget proposal that reduces state spending by more than $1 billion but puts additional resources into public schools and child protection.
The House approved its version of Senate Bill 1 with a final vote of 131-16. The budget provides an additional $1.5 billion for public schools, $500 million to address a shortfall in the health care program for retired teachers, and an increase of more than $450 million to address crises in Child Protective Services and foster care. It also puts more resources toward mental health services and Texas Grant scholarships, and it protects voter-approved funding for transportation improvements.
“I appreciate the many hours that Chairman John Zerwas and the Appropriations Committee put into this budget,” said House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio. “I’m also grateful that the Members of the House supported it so strongly. This plan keeps Texas living within its means while making investments that will strengthen our economy and brighten our future.”
Members of the House and Senate will meet in a conference committee to finalize a budget that can be sent to Governor Greg Abbott for approval.
“The House looks forward to working with the Senate on a final bill,” Speaker Straus said. “The House will advocate for a budget that strengthens education, protects retired teachers and ends the crisis at Child Protective Services. I’m optimistic that we will find common ground with the Senate on these and many other issues.”
Also Friday morning, the House gave overwhelming approval to House Bill 2, which provides funding to close a Medicaid shortfall in the current budget year.