FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/07/2017
TEXAS LEGISLATURE PASSES HOUSE BUDGET
If you have questions or concerns about the budget or other State issues, you may contact the representative at
Austin, TX-- On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives passed the budget for the 2018-2019 biennium. It was a lively 15 and a half hours of heated debate including a number of people and amendments that tried to harm rural Texas. Rep. Springer stood up to defend not only rural values but also was successful in defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics from all taxpayer dollars.
The proposed budget spends $106.8 billion in available revenue, while cutting overall state spending by $1 billion compared to the current biennium. Despite the dramatic reduction in spending, the House has managed to make significant investments in critical areas of the State. While there a few items that Rep. Springer would have funded lower and some higher this budget is the work and compromise of all 150 Representatives.
In regards to transportation, the House has budgeted for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to receive an additional $2.5 billion. This will help to ensure that rural roads are maintained and safe for travelers, while at the same time add additional lanes to relieve traffic congestion.
Additionally, the House budget seeks to help to reform school finance. They have set aside funds for public school enrollment to grow by about 165,000 students over the next two years, increased public education funding by $1.5 billion. Additionally funding for rural community colleges, such as NCTC and Vernon College, far outpaces that of their urban counterparts. Schools and community colleges, however, won't be the only ones that will benefit. The House budget has set aside $500 million for the next four years to address the shortfall in the healthcare fund for retired teachers.
Mental Health is another critical priority that the House has addressed. The budget will allocate an additional $62.6 million to eliminate wait lists for our community mental health services. This will help relieve congestion in our county jails and make access to services more readily available. Many are also familiar with the crisis throughout the State involving Child Protective Services (CPS). This budget dedicates an additional $433 million to help improve the State system and better protect and serve the children of Texas. While this is a substantial amount, this is only the beginning of a more rigorous overhaul of the current CPS system which includes major reforms, not just more tax dollars.
The State was also able to save a substantial amount of money by cutting $2.5 billion in Medicaid funding by working with the Trump Administration as a reimbursement for not expanding welfare services. While this may cause worry for some, it is in fact $0.9 billion more in total funding for Medicaid than were allocated for 2016-17.
The Rainy Day Fund currently has a balance of $10 billion with another $2 billion being added over the biennium. Much like a household budget, when times are tough and a person is forced to spend less on staple items they tend to halt the growth of their savings accounts. Using only the new money coming into the ESF Fund to bridge the current economic downturn is the responsible way to use the fund for its intended purpose. When the Legislature returns for the 86th Session, roughly $10 billion will remain in the fund.
When asked about the budget, Rep. Springer stated "I am proud that we were able to pass a budget that addresses the concerns and critical priorities of the State, while at the same time remaining fiscally conservative and transparent in our methods. This truly is a win for Texas, and I strongly believe we made the most out of the revenue shortfall."
If you have questions or concerns about the budget or other State issues, you may contact the representative at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.