FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2015
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AUSTIN – Today, the Senate passed CSHB 1, the Senate's version of the appropriations bill for the 2016-17 biennium, by a vote of 30-1. 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.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"I am pleased with the budget that my Senate colleagues, Finance Chair Jane Nelson, and I carefully crafted to reflect our state's priorities. I am also proud that the full Senate voted to support the budget, one that addresses our growing population and many of the critical needs of our Texas families.
We increased access and funding to services needed by our most vulnerable populations -- the young, elderly, sick, and poor. We invested in infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, border security, and our students. The budget will pave the way for an educated and healthy workforce and a successful Texas economy. We must now prepare for conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. My priorities will be to support the funding we need for South Texas and our entire state."
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 and invests $262 Million for Women's Health Services and significantly increases investment in Child Protection Services with $122 Million for CPS prevention programs.
- 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.
- $5 Billion in new appropriations for transportation funding including $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.
- Fully covers enrollment growth for our public school system with $25 Billion to account for an additional 83,620 students per year. Also $60 Million goes to create a Math Academy and a Reading Academy to support K-3 teacher training.
- Includes $5.5 Million for Infrastructure Facilities Allotment to provide tax relief for property-poor districts.