BLOG: Unpacking Budget Day - What You Need to Know
Thursday, April 6 was a big day for the Texas House. For over 12 hours, representatives debated amendments to House Bill 1, a 979-page bill also known as the proposed biennial budget. Today we’re highlighting the proposed biennial budget, the key takeaways of Budget Day, and what you need to know moving forward.
What is the biennial budget?
The biennial budget, or House Bill 1, is the budget plan for how the state’s taxpayer dollars will be spent over the next two years. A $302.7 billion proposal, the bill addresses a wide range of priority issues and allocates funding accordingly.
With the Comptroller projecting record-breaking tax collections by the state, the budget plan spends a substantial amount of the anticipated $32.7 billion surplus while still staying well below the state’s spending limits.
Highlights of the Biennial Budget
HB 1 puts Texans first by dedicating funds to a wide range of issues that the Texas House has prioritized this 88th Legislative Session.
Property Tax Relief
HB 1 will result in the largest property tax cut in Texas history, providing Texans with protection from rapidly increasing property taxes. Under HB 1, $17.3 billion will be allocated for property tax relief.
$4.6 billion will be dedicated to border security efforts at 13 state agencies, including $2.2 billion to the Texas Military Department, $1.1 billion to the Department of Public Safety, and $1 billion to the Office of the Governor.
To support Texas children and educators, the state’s share of public education has been increased to over 50% for the first time in more than a decade. As a result, $60.3 billion will be used to fully fund schools and $3.5 billion will provide retired teachers with an increased cost-of-living adjustment. For institutes of higher education, $3.5 billion will be put toward incentivizing research, while $1.1 billion will be used to fund enrollment growth, student financial aid and freezing tuition growth over a two-year period.
An emergency item this session, additional dollars were dedicated to increasing school safety. To better protect our students, the House allocated $1.6 billion for school safety grants, which will help schools to better equip their campuses for potential emergencies.
Infrastructure In support of critical infrastructure projects, $629 million will be given to the Flood Infrastructure Fund, rural water projects, and other infrastructure-related matters across Texas.
Looking to the Future
These line items in the biennial budget will use taxpayer dollars to keep Texas on a path to success–but where do we go from here?
With the House’s Budget Day finally over, all eyes are on the Texas Senate as they prepare to pass their own draft of the bill. Once the Texas Senate’s draft of the bill is approved by the full Senate, the two houses will appoint a conference committee to collaborate on a finalized budget that will be passed into law.
Stay tuned for updates on the biennial budget as the 88th Legislative Session comes closer to an end.