AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement today upon the filing of the Senate’s Budget for Texas, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston:
“Today, Senate Finance Chair Huffman filed SB 1, the Senate’s proposed state budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. I thank Chair Huffman for her tireless work during the interim to introduce this budget. I think she did an outstanding job. I also want to thank my budget team who worked alongside Chair Huffman for their hard work to reflect Texas conservative priorities.
“SB 1 keeps our promises to Texans and charts a course for our state’s continued prosperity. Our conservative budgeting principles applied throughout SB 1 make sure that government does not grow faster than population times inflation.
“The state (general) fund budget totals $130.1 billion, an increase of $11.9 billion, or 10.1%. The total of all funds budget, including federal funds, is $288.7 billion, a decrease of $8.5 billion or 2.9% due to the removal of one-time federal COVID-19 funds.
“SB 1 is an estimated $4 billion below the spending limit set by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) in November 2022 for the FY 2024-2025 budget. In addition, the legislature retains an additional $3.5 billion in spending capacity under the FY 2022-2023 spending limit and has an estimated $5.5 billion of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to allocate.
“The press has reported there is a $32 billion surplus above our spending limit. The LBB says there are billions more available. Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s unprecedented revenue estimate is a testament to Texas’s economic strength, but the true strength of our economy lies within all Texans. It is the state’s job to use those resources wisely.
“As I have stated previously, multiple times, first and foremost, we must return a significant portion of the record surplus to those who created it: the taxpayers. That is why we have increased the homestead exemption to $70,000 in our base budget.
“We must prioritize spending that will keep Texas the nation’s economic powerhouse. It is also imperative that we save a sizable portion of the money for the future. Our conservative policy is to never spend all the money because you never know what challenges or opportunities lie ahead.
“Our steady-handed conservative approach to budgeting puts our state on excellent footing heading into the next biennium and beyond. I look forward to the legislature’s final product.”
Upon filing SB 1, Sen. Joan Huffman issued the following statement:
“Our state’s robust and growing economy is due to the hard work of millions of Texans and the strong conservative fiscal policies championed by our state’s leadership,” said Sen. Huffman. “As of today, our state’s economy has become the envy of the world. It is important to note that Senate Bill 1 is the starting point, but I am confident that the final product will make historic advances for the people of Texas, while also keeping an eye on the future, for generations to come.”
SB 1 Highlights:
- $15.0 billion set aside for additional property tax relief, including $3 billion to increase the homestead exemption to $70,000
- $4.6 billion to maintain current border security operations with a pay raise for border law enforcement
- Fully funds the Foundation School Program including enrollment growth
- $3.0 billion combined in the base and supplemental budgets to increase investment in mental health, including new and renovated state hospitals and expanded capacity in current hospitals
- $400 million to finish The Alamo Restoration and up to $500 million for Gulf Coast Protection District projects
- $900 million to reduce state debt by retiring law enforcement unfunded pension liability
- $350 million to create a rural law enforcement fund and enhance sheriff’s pay
- $2.5 billion to create a new higher education endowment to assist non-Permanent University Fund schools
- $650 million to increase community college funding based on schools’ performance
- Rider provisions allowing for development of increased teacher pay and a 13th check or cost of living adjustment for our retired teachers
- $600 million for school safety initiatives in the supplemental budget