On to the full House, then the real fight occurs.
A panel of House budget writers gave initial approval Monday to a budget that would spend $115 billion in state funds, including a $9 billion infusion of new funds for Texas public schools and property tax relief.
Now that the House Appropriations Committee has approved the 2020-21 spending plan, House Bill 1, the legislation moves to the floor of the 150-member House.
Among the highlights of the House’s spending plan are:
$9 billion in new state funding for K-12 education and property tax relief, contingent on lawmakers passing reforms to the way the state funds public schools. The budget does not dictate the breakdown of those funds, but a bill backed by Speaker Dennis Bonnen would give about $6 billion to school districts and use the remaining $3 billion to pay for a reduction in local school district property taxes.
A $2.8 billion increase in state and federal funds for health and human services above what the House proposed in January. That includes a $25 million increase for early childhood intervention services, $6.7 million to reduce caseloads for Adult Protective Services workers, $31 million to expand capacity at local mental health clinics for low-income Texans and $87 million to raise the pay of personal attendants, who care for the elderly and disabled, by about 10 cents an hour.
A $168 million expenditure to give some Texas prison guards and parole officers a pay raise.
Rep. Matt Schaefer was the lone No vote in committee, so presume that this will get some pushback from the wingnuts. The story notes that the House budget draws $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, but it doesn’t specify what it’s used for. There’s more here on the House school finance proposal. The budget is the one thing the Lege absolutely has to do. With some cracks beneath the surface on other “priority” items, it’s nice to see this get a head start.