FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2001
Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff today (Wednesday) named Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to the appropriations conference committee. The conference committee is composed of five senators and five representatives who will reconcile the Senate and House versions of the state budget. Other senate members from the Senate Finance Committee named to the conference committee include: Chair Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; Chris Harris, R-Arlington; Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; and Steve Ogden, R-College Station. Representatives named to the committee include: Chair Robert Junell, D-San Angelo; G.E. West, R-Odessa; Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston; Garnet Coleman, D-Houston; and Pete Gallego, D-Alpine.
"I am committed to working closely with the other senators and representatives named to the conference committee to develop a budget that meets the needs of Texans," Sen. Zaffirini said. "The Senate did its best in a tight budget season to secure an increase of $1.9 billion over the FY 2000-01 base. I am delighted SB 1 increases funding in health and human services and education issues, two of my top priorities, but now our task is to develop a consensus budget that reflects the priorities of both chambers."
SB 1, by Senators Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, et al., calls for $3.1 billion increased funding over the initial budget proposal filed in January, which is a $9.8 billion increase (9.2 percent) over the adjusted budget for FY 2000-01. The majority of the new funding is dedicated to health and human services (51 percent) and education (27 percent). The $9.8 billion increased funding is needed to cover state government cost increases due to Texas' rapidly growing population and rising health care costs and to fund key priorities established by the committee. The majority of this growth comes from other funds, such as federal funds, rather than state coffers.