AUSTIN – The Senate Finance Committee today approved final workgroup recommendations for SB 1, the appropriations bill, filed by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.

"This is a fiscally responsible budget that prioritizes the two most critical issues of this session -- property tax relief and education, specifically our teachers who will receive a well-deserved pay raise through this budget," Senator Nelson said. "We are making smart investments in public safety, transportation and other items needed to keep Texas strong and prosperous."

As adopted by the committee, SB 1 provides:

  • $4B for every teacher and librarian to receive a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise;
  • $2.7B for property tax relief and reducing the reliance on recapture;
  • $2.3B for additional state aid to school districts;
  • $2.4B to fund enrollment growth for public education, based on an estimated 65,000 additional students per year;
  • $230M to maintain current health insurance premiums and benefits for our retired teachers through TRS-Care;
  • $157M -- an increase of $60M -- to address health care workforce shortages, specifically to maintain the state's 1.1 to 1 ratio of graduate medical education slots in relation to the number of medical school graduates;
  • an increase of $529.9M for higher education, including:
  • $189.9M in funding for enrollment growth;
  • a $79.9M increase to TEXAS Grants to fund 70 percent of eligible students;
  • a 4-percent increase to our general academic institutions; and
  • a 19-percent increase to our community college success points.
  • $100M to support the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium established under SB 10 by Senator Nelson to provide early intervention to young Texans at risk of suicide, substance abuse or becoming a danger to themselves and others;
  • an additional $55M to increase outpatient community mental health treatment capacity and avoid future waitlists;
  • an increase of $22.5M to continue community mental health grant programs established last session;
  • 20 additional community inpatient psychiatric beds to provide short-term acute stabilization services for individuals with mental illness;
  • $30M in additional funding to address caseload growth in women's health programs -- bringing funding for women's health to a new all-time high;
  • an additional $5M to provide enhanced services to victims of family violence;
  • an increase of $19.3M to reduce caseloads at Child Protective Services;
  • $62.8M in additional funding to the Department of Family and Protective Services to expand Community-Based Care to a total of five regions and to begin Stage 2 in three regions;
  • significant investments to serve victims of sexual assault:
  • $7.5M in new funding to expand rape crisis center capacity statewide and end service waitlists for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence;
  • $49.8M in additional funding for state crime labs to increase capacity and expedite processing of sexual assault kits and other evidence; and
  • $1M to launch a new telemedicine program, defined in SB 71 by Senator Nelson, to grow available forensic nursing services for victims of sexual assault;
  • approval of all agency requests related to combatting human trafficking totaling $87.9M, an increase of $69.1M-- more than three times the current funding level, including:
  • $1.3M to expand human trafficking prevention at the Department of Family and Protective Services;
  • $5.6M to add additional enforcement agents to target trafficking operations at businesses licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission;
  • $3.5M to expand prosecution efforts by the Office of the Attorney General;
  • $60.2M to establish an anti-gang task force and an anti-human trafficking task force within the Department of Public Safety; and
  • $1.5M to create a rapid-response to human trafficking team for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
  • $1.2M to leverage a $23.3M federal grant to improve election security;
  • $193M to increase and retain staff at driver license offices across the state, reducing wait times;
  • $3.7M to establish nine new child protection courts in underserved areas;
  • $91M for raises for correctional and parole officers at the Department of Criminal Justice, Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Juvenile Justice Department;
  • $94M to address health and safety and deferred maintenance items at state office buildings, the School for the Deaf, and the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
  • $30M to address health, safety, and heat-related facilities maintenance items at the Department of Criminal Justice;
  • an additional $4.3M for judicial training, and a directive to ensure judicial education materials include mental health resources available in each court's community;
  • $4.6M additional to expand educational and vocational training programs at the Department of Criminal Justice, preparing offenders for successful reentry into society;
  • $10M to address maintenance needs at Texas armories through the Texas Military Department;
  • more than $1B for cybersecurity, legacy system replacement, and other information technology projects to fortify state agencies and sensitive data;
  • $31B to the Texas Department of Transportation, an increase of $286M to address the state's transportation needs, including the full $5B transfer to the State Highway Fund from Proposition 7;
  • 100-percent appropriation of the available sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Historical Commission, authorizing:
  • $321M to fund our state parks -- an increase of $45M and the largest allocation in state history; and
  • $21M, an increase of $3M, to preserve and maintain Texas historic sites;
  • improved air permit processing for businesses by allowing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to retain amounts above the biennial revenue estimate for the processing of expedited air permits;
  • $45M to maintain the state's investment in air quality monitoring systems at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and
  • $23M for an information technology mainframe transformation and 22 additional oil and gas and pipeline safety inspectors at the Railroad Commission.

Today the committee voted to accept workgroup recommendations, which will be folded into a committee substitute for SB 1 to be voted out of committee next Wednesday.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

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