AUSTIN - HB 1, the appropriations bill, authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has been approved by the Texas Legislature establishing the state’s budget priorities for the next two years. The final budget was voted on by each chamber of the Legislature today.
"This is a responsible, forward-looking budget that addresses many long-standing challenges. It accomplishes the three major goals we identified early on this session -- property tax relief, teacher pay and additional support for our schools," Senator Nelson said. "With this budget, we will keep Texas strong and prosperous for years to come."
HB 1 includes $118.8B in General Revenue and $250.7B in All Funds for FY 20-21. When adjusted for tax relief, these totals are within all constitutional spending limits and population times inflation with 4.9 percent growth in General Revenue and 4.2 percent growth in All Funds.
For Article I, General Government, conferees provided:
- $10M to provide grants to Cultural Arts Districts across the state, which generate millions in tourist activity annually;
- $1.9M to expand the Elections Fraud Unit at the Office of the Attorney General;
- $3.5M to expand the Human Trafficking Section at the Office of the Attorney General to handle additional prosecutions;
- $7.7M increase in funding for rape crisis centers to expand capacity to every area of the state and handle caseload growth;
- $1M to expand access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in underserved areas per Senator Nelson's SB 71;
- $300M to maintain the grant pool for Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grants;
- $14.7M to replace outdated 9-1-1 equipment;
- $6M to fund grants for Sexual Assault Forensic Exam ready facilities to help deliver specialty care to victims;
- $2.9M to better preserve state historic sites; and
- $1.9M to provide additional claims representation and counseling services at the Texas Veterans Commission.
Additionally, for Article II, Health and Human Services, conferees provided:
- $346.9M for women's health services, bringing funding to a new all-time high;
- an additional $59M to increase outpatient community mental health treatment capacity and avoid future waitlists;
- an increase of $26M for an additional 50 community inpatient psychiatric beds;
- $341.6M for the Early Childhood Intervention program, an increase of over $50M;
- $20M in additional resources to children's advocacy centers to address increasing demand for services;
- an additional $5.5M to enhance services to victims of family violence;
- $220.7M to provide long-term care rate increases, including attendant wages;
- an increase of $64.3M to expand Community Based Care into two new regions and transition three regions into Stage 2;
- $12M to provide targeted provider rate increases to build additional capacity to serve foster children;
- over 130 additional workers to lower caseloads at Child Protective Services; and
- $7M to the Department of State Health Services to address maternal mortality and morbidity.
For Article III, Public Education, conferees provided:
- An additional $11.5B to reduce school property taxes, increase teacher pay and increase state aid to school districts;
- Approximately $5B to reduce the property tax rate in 2020 and add a 2.5 percent compression in 2021;
- $3.6B to reduce recapture payments by nearly half;
- $2B to enhance compensation for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses, prioritizing veteran educators with 6 or more years of service;
- $2.4B to fund enrollment growth for an additional 65,000 students per year; and
- An increase of $230M for the Teacher Retirement System to maintain current health care benefits and premiums for retired teachers.
For Article III, Higher Education, conferees provided:
- A $486M increase in formulas for higher education;
- An increase of $201M to General Academic Institutions;
- A $151M increase to Health Related Institutions, and new performance based formulas;
- $45M for Texas State Technical Colleges returned value formula;
- $21M for our Lamar State Colleges;
- An increase of $68M for community college success points, plus a 95 percent hold harmless for enrollment decline;
- $157M for graduate medical education to maintain a 1.1 to 1 ratio for residency slots; and
- An $80M increase for TEXAS Grant program to ensure 70 percent of eligible students receive a $5,000 award.
For Article IV, the Judiciary, conferees agreed to:
- An additional $3M to support basic civil legal services for veterans and their families;
- $10M in funding to provide basic civil legal services to victims of sexual assault;
- $350,000 to support a statewide protective order registry to better protect victims of assault and violence;
- $3.7M to create nine new child protection courts, increasing capacity for child protective service cases in high-needs areas;
- $5M for a pilot project to identify and provide special representation for indigent defendants with mental illness;
- An additional $5M to in grants to counties to support indigent defense costs incurred by counties;
- $4.8M to fully implement a statewide Guardianship Compliance Project; and
- A new attorney at the Special Prosecution Unit to focus on juvenile sexual assault cases.
For Article V, Public Safety, conferees provided:
- $5.3M for anti-human trafficking related efforts at establishments licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission;
- $84M to retain correctional and parole officers at the Department of Criminal Justice;
- $5.3M for education and vocational pilot programs for offenders at the Department of Criminal Justice;
- $25M for armory maintenance at the Military Department;
- An additional sexual assault coordinator position at the Military Department;
- $54M to expand capacity at state crime labs and prioritize the testing of sexual assault kits;
- $210M to address wait times and improve driver license operations, including 762 new staff to fill vacant counters and a new, larger Denton facility;
- $1M to fund a safe gun storage campaign administered by the Department of Public Safety; and
- $27.9M for anti-child sex and human trafficking efforts and anti-gang squads at the Department of Public Safety.
In Article VI, Natural Resources, conferees provided:
- 100-percent appropriation of the sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department including $12.5M for the development of Palo Pinto State Park, $6M for interoperable radios and law enforcement equipment for game wardens and disaster response teams, and $99.3M for deferred maintenance of facilities and wildlife fish hatcheries;
- $28.1M to improve technology at the Railroad Commission, including 22 additional oil and gas and pipeline safety inspectors, and $39.1M for oil and gas well-plugging;
- $1.2B, an increase of $75.3M in All Funds, for food and nutrition programs at the Texas Department of Agriculture, including: the Surplus Food Program, home-delivered meals for at-risk adults and children, School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and After School Care Program;
- $45M to maintain the state's investment in air quality monitoring systems at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and
- $1.5M and 10 FTEs for a dedicated team full-time disaster response staff at the General Land Office.
In Article VII, Economic Development, conferees adopted:
- More than $31B to address the state's transportation needs, including $3.2B under Proposition 1 and the full $5B transfer to the State Highway Fund under Proposition 7;
- $1M and 9 new FTEs at the Department of Motor Vehicles to continue customer service capability improvements; and
- A rider to maximize adult literacy performance in Texas and initiate a review of the Adult Literacy Program at the Texas Workforce Commission.
In Article VIII, Regulatory, conferees approved:
- $1.5M and 12 FTEs for a dedicated Anti-human Trafficking Unit at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
- $1.8M and 8 FTEs to create a new Skimmer Fraud Unit at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for the implementation of a detection, investigation, and enforcement program that will crack down on fuel pump credit card skimmers;
- $690,000 to improve operational, investigative, and customer service capabilities at the Texas Medical Board; and
- $332,000 to increase utility security oversight at the Public Utility Commission.
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.