FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2021
AUSTIN, TX — As the Third Called Special Session of the 87th Texas Legislature comes to an end, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa co-authored Senate Bill 8, legislation that will provide funding for projects in the Coastal Bend, Senate Bill 52 which invests in our universities, and Senate Joint Resolution 2 which would provide additional property tax relief for homeowners, if approved by the voters in May 2022.
SB 8 by Senator Jane Nelson, which appropriates $13.3 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act spearheaded by President Joe Biden and approved by the United States Congress earlier this year, was passed by the Texas Legislature and is now headed to the Governor for final approval. The bill includes $3 million for the Texas State Aquarium. It also provides $3 million for housing at the UT Marine Science Institute. Additionally, this bill appropriates $180 million in funding for recovery grants for tourism, travel, and hospitality industry, $2 billion for state and local hospital surge staffing, $500 million for broadband infrastructure, $95 million for food banks, an additional $15 million for community colleges for workforce training under the TRUE program, $52 million for the Sexual Assault Program for victims of domestic violence, and $7.2 billion to replenish the Unemployment Compensation Fund ensuring that businesses are not faced with an increase in unemployment taxes due to pandemic-related layoffs. These are just some of the highlights of items funded in the bill.
The Legislature also passed SB 52 by Senator Brandon Creighton, which invests in public universities across the state to fund capital projects or improve existing facilities on their campuses. Senate Bill 52 includes $44.9 million in funding for Texas A&M Corpus Christi that can be used for the construction of the arts and media building.
SJR 2 by Senator Paul Bettencourt proposes to increase the mandatory homestead exemption for school district taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. This will result in homeowners receiving property tax relief every year. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it would have to be approved by the voters in May 2022 before it takes effect.
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa made the following statement:
"During the Third Called Special Session, our Coastal Bend legislative delegation worked together and advocated for funding for our Coastal Bend priorities. I am pleased that in addition to funding grants for tourism, broadband expansion, replenishing the Unemployment Compensation Fund to help our businesses, and many other investments, we were also able to secure funds for local projects. The Texas State Aquarium Center for Wildlife Rescue was appropriated $3 million and the UT Marine Science Institute will receive $3 million for student housing replacement.
I also applaud Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's request for construction projects for universities and appreciate Governor Abbott for adding this item to the special session call. Our universities not only educate our students, they are also economic drivers for our communities. Many institutions are growing and need additional facilities and the $44.9 million appropriated to Texas A&M Corpus Christi in Senate Bill 52 will allow for construction of the arts and media building.
Lastly, I encourage the voters to support Senate Joint Resolution 2 next May to provide much needed property tax relief to homeowners. This proposed constitutional amendment would increase the homestead exemption for school districts from $25,000 to $40,000, with no adverse impacts on our schools."