P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2017
AUSTIN — Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, presided today over the Senate Finance Committee's organizational hearing, which included an overview of the Biennial Revenue Estimate by Comptroller Glenn Hegar and an overview of SB 1, the appropriations bill, by Ursula Parks, LBB Director.
"SB 1 is a starting point, and I look forward to working with an excellent group of colleagues who are as committed as I am to addressing our priorities, finding efficiencies and passing a responsible budget that meets the needs of our growing state," Senator Nelson said.
SB 1, the appropriations bill, by Senator Nelson:
- Appropriates $103.6 billion General Revenue (GR);
- Continues the current funding formulas for both public education and higher education;
- Adds $2.65 billion to cover student enrollment growth;
- Dedicates approximately $5 billion for transportation in accordance with Proposition 7; and
- Provides a $1 billion commitment to improve the state hospital system and address other state facility needs.
For additional highlights of SB 1 visit http://www.senate.state.tx.us/press.php?id=12-20170117a
During today's hearing Senator Nelson appointed two workgroups to review pressing budget challenges facing the Legislature this session.
The Workgroup on School Finance will work with the Senate Education Committee members who are not on Finance, as well as with all members of the Senate and stakeholders, to propose potential replacements for our current funding structure. The Workgroup on Health Care Costs will examine ways to contain the rising cost of health care in Medicaid, the Teacher Retirement System, the Employee Retirement System and correctional managed care.
School Finance Workgroup: Senator Larry Taylor, Chair; Senator Paul Bettencourt; Senator Brian Birdwell; Senator Kelly Hancock; Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa; Senator Kel Seliger; and Senator Royce West.
"There is no issue more important to the future of our state than public education. We have an opportunity to improve our school finance system without a court order, and this workgroup will recommend ways to make the system less complicated, more innovative and, most importantly, more successful in meeting the needs of students," Senator Nelson said.
Health Care Costs Workgroup: Senator Charles Schwertner, Chair; Senator Joan Huffman; Senator Lois Kolkhorst; Senator Robert Nichols; Senator Carlos Uresti; Senator Kirk Watson; and Senator John Whitmire.
"Everyone always thinks of Medicaid when we talk about our rising health care costs, but health care for our teachers, state employees and our prison population is also driving up the costs significantly. The numbers are staggering. This workgroup will identify ways to contain these costs, which -- if nothing changes -- will continue to consume more of the budget and crowd out our ability to meet other needs," Senator Nelson said.
To follow today's hearing visit: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php