P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2015
AUSTIN – The Senate Finance Committee today unanimously approved CSHB 1, the appropriations bill sponsored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. The bill, which reflects the Senate's version of the state budget for 2016-17, passed by a unanimous vote of 15-0 and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.
"This budget will keep our state strong and successful. It addresses the needs of our growing population, invests in education, jump starts highway construction and secures our border," Senator Nelson said. "This is a responsible plan that stays within our means and achieves significant tax relief. It also addresses the wear and tear on state facilities and gets a handle on our state employee benefit issues. It is the product of extensive input, and I am very grateful for the hard work of every Senator who helped shape this budget that truly reflects our shared priorities."
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 our 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.
- Appropriates $211.38B in All Funds, including tax relief -- a 4.6% increase from the 2014-2015 budget.