AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced the Senate’s passage of the 2016-17 state budget, by Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson.
“I am proud of the Texas Senate for uniting to produce a conservative, responsible, state budget that will sufficiently fund our state’s needs over the next biennium, while providing $3.8 billion in necessary tax relief to the businesses and property owners of Texas,” said Patrick.
“Under the brilliant leadership of Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson, the Senate conference committee did unbelievable work in negotiating the final budget with their House counterparts,” continued Patrick. “I began this session with a long list of budget priorities, based in large part on the priorities expressed by the people of Texas. Each one passed as a part of the budget.”
The 2016-2017 budget (HB 1) includes:
- 0 percent increase in All Funds and a 4.9 percent increase in state spending (total of General Revenue, General Revenue-Dedicated, and Other Funds), excluding tax relief, compared to the previous biennium. The budget is well under estimates of population growth and inflation ranging from 6.2 percent to 8.6 percent. The budget is billions under both the Article 8 Constitutional spending limit and the state’s pay-as-you-go limit.
- No spending from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
- $3.8 billion in tax relief, including a permanent increase in the homestead exemption to $25,000, pending voter approval, and a permanent 25 percent rate reduction in the business franchise tax.
- A dramatic increase in border security providing $800 million for: additional Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers; funding a 10-hour workday for troopers statewide; a new company of the Texas Rangers; sustained presence of the Texas National Guard on the border until necessary DPS assets can be deployed; and additional technology to fight crime.
- Funding for transportation infrastructure includes $1.3 billion made available by completely ending diversions from the State Highway Fund and a $2.4 billion transfer to the State Highway Fund resulting from the passage of Proposition 1 in 2014. Coupled with SJR 5, which will add a minimum of $5 billion per biennium to the State Highway Fund beginning in the 2018-19 biennium, this is the largest transportation infrastructure commitment in a decade.
- Full funding for enrollment growth in public schools, plus $1.5 billion more than current law requires to increase per student funding from $5,040 to $5,140, to improve equity, and to fund new school facilities.
- $40 million for math and reading training for K-3 teachers and $118 million for a high quality pre-kindergarten grant program.
- A 3 percent formula funding increase for colleges and medical schools.
- $53 million for Graduate Medical Education to provide sufficient funding for every Texas medical school graduate to have a residency in Texas.
- $373 million in Medicaid cost containment savings, $50 million for women’s health, and $712 million in All Funds, an increase of $573 million, for hospital payments, including rural, trauma-designated, and safety-net hospitals.
- Funding for an 8 percent salary increase and related benefits to Correctional Officers at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- $500 million for state facilities and deferred maintenance projects, as well as funding for the restoration of historic Texas courthouses, the Battleship Texas, and the Alamo.
“Texans expected this legislature to address priorities including tax relief, border security, public education, and transportation. I commend the Texas Senate for meeting these expectations while constraining state spending under population growth and inflation,” concluded Patrick.