Senate Passes State Budget
April 14, 2015
The Texas Senate today approved CSHB 1, the appropriations bill sponsored by Senator Jane Nelson. The bill, which reflects the Senate's version of the state budget for 2016-17, passed by a vote of 30-1. CSHB 1 appropriates $211.38 billion in All Funds, including tax relief. When adjusted to remove tax relief, the budget grows by 3.5 percent in All Funds from the previous biennium.
"This budget takes a giant leap forward in meeting our transportation needs. It supports our schools, secures the border, and addresses our employee benefit funds," said Senator Nelson. "It also continues, and expands on, the policies that have brought our economy to these unprecedented heights. We are providing significant tax relief, and that is also an investment in our future. This is a budget that will keep our state strong, prosperous and compassionate."
The highlights of CSHB 1 include:
- $2.15B in property tax relief and $2.3B in franchise tax relief.
- Ends highway funding diversions, includes a one-time dedication of $1.2B from the motor vehicle sales tax to the state highway fund and anticipates $2.4B over the biennium from Proposition 1.
- Provides $811M for border security – more than the previous 7 years combined, including $408.2M for a continued presence on the border, $7.5M for a Pilatus Aircraft, $8.8M for a new Ranger Company at the Texas Department of Public Safety, and increased grants to local law enforcement.
- Adds $1.2B to current education formula funding, covering enrollment growth and increasing the basic allotment from $5,040 to $5,134 in 2016 and $5,140 in 2017. Also includes $60M for math and reading training for K-3 teachers and adds $25M for career counseling for middle school students.
- Fully funds Medicaid caseload and cost growth.
- $2.8B in general revenue across state government for mental health programs, including an increase of $20M for Texas Veterans Initiative; $12M for jail & emergency room diversions; $31.3M for crisis mental health; $50M for additional psychiatric beds; and $14.5M to keep waiting lists at zero through the 16-17 budget cycle. This is a $258.8M general revenue increase over the last biennium.
- Adds $50M for women’s health, building on the commitment from last session.
- Adds $60M for Graduate Medical Education towards goal of a 1.1:1 ratio, ensuring there is a residency spot in Texas for every Texas medical school graduate.
- $721M for deferred maintenance, debt service for four new buildings, and other maintenance requests.
- Appropriates a $458.2M increase for the Employee Retirement System pension fund, including increasing the state contribution to the fund by 2 percent.
- Eliminates the Emerging Technology Fund, sending half of unexpended balances at the end of FY 15 to the Enterprise Fund and half to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for University Research Initiative grants, contingent on the passage of legislation.