WEEK IN REVIEW
SENATE APPROVES $4 BILLION IN NON-TAX REVENUE
(AUSTIN) — State budget writers would have more than $4 billion to work with as they deal with a revenue shortfall under a bill approved by the Senate late Friday. The bill, SB 1811 by Lubbock Senator Robert Duncan, uses one-time funds and payment shifts to access this revenue. Most of the money comes from moving up payments and collections. The bill would move the state's final payment of the fiscal year to the Permanent School Fund, more than $2 billion, from August 2011 into September of 2011, the first month of fiscal year 2011-2012. It would also move up the collection of the state's franchise tax, collecting one-quarter, or about $800 million, a month early in 2013. The bill was amended to only affect those businesses that gross more than $10 million that year.
This bill will work with another bill passed by the Senate this week to help increase the amount of money lawmakers can use to pay for state services. That bill, SB 23, passed Thursday by Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson, would save about $500 million in health care costs over the next biennium. It would accomplish this by carving Medicaid prescriptions into managed care, increasing managed care for Medicaid patients in South Texas, and other savings requiring changes to state law. Another $2.5 billion in health care savings was identified by Nelson's Subcommittee on Medicaid, but that money can be realized by rule and other non-statutory changes.
Also Friday, the Senate approved the redistricting bill for the State Board of Education. Senators approved a map that bill sponsor and Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Senator Kel Seliger says will meet all constitutional and legal redistricting standards. The 15 districts would only split up seven counties, as opposed to ten counties split by district lines in the current SBOE map. Senators will now work with counterparts from the House to rectify the differences between the two chambers' versions of the map.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 2 at 11 a.m.