FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2015
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AUSTIN - Today, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved CSHB 1, the Senate's version of the appropriations bill for the 2016-17 biennium. The budget appropriates over $107.4 billion in General Revenue and $211.38 billion in All Funds and includes a $4.5 billion tax relief package.
As Vice Chair of Senate Finance, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa played a critical role in securing funding for various state agencies and is proud of the work accomplished so far.
"I am pleased with the budget that my Senate colleagues, Finance Chair Jane Nelson, and I carefully crafted to reflect our state's priorities. After extensive hearings, work group meetings, and participation from the entire committee, we passed a strong state budget that addresses our growing population and many of the critical needs of our Texas families," stated Senator Hinojosa.
"We increased access and funding to services needed by our most vulnerable populations -- the young, elderly, sick, and poor. We invested in infrastructure, border security, and our students. The budget is well within all constitutional spending and debt limits, and will pave the way for an educated and healthy workforce and a successful Texas economy," concluded Senator Hinojosa.
Significant CSHB 1 highlights include:
- $811 Million for border security, including $8.8 Million for a new Ranger Company at the Texas Department of Public Safety and increased grants to our local law enforcement.
- A $458 Million increase for the Employee Retirement System (ERS) pension fund, including increasing the state contribution to the constitutional maximum of 10%.
- A $4.5 Billion tax relief package that includes $2.15 Billion in property tax relief for our homeowners, and $2.35 Billion in franchise tax relief for our small businesses.
- $2.8 Billion for mental health programs, including an increase of $20 Million for Texas Veterans Initiative; $12 Million for jail and emergency room diversions; $31.3 Million for crisis mental health; and $14.5 Million to keep waiting lists at zero through the 2016-17 biennium.
- Increased formula funds by $1.2 Billion for Higher Education and increased Texas Grants by $83.5 Million that will support 65,500 students.
- Fully funds Medicaid caseload and cost growth.
- Adds $60 Million for Graduate Medical Education towards a goal of 1.1:1 ratio to ensure there is a residency spot in Texas for every Texas medical school graduate.
- $1.3 Billion in additional transportation funding to end highway funding diversions and a one-time dedication of $1.2 Billion form the motor vehicle sales tax to the state highway fund.
- Includes $5.5 Million for Infrastructure Facilities Allotment to provide tax relief for property-poor districts.