COLLEGE STATION — The 88th Texas Legislative Session ended May 29, 2023.
The session began January 10, 2023 with a historic budget of $188 Billion identified for general spending for fiscal years 2024 – 2025.
There were 11,807 bills filed – well above the average of 10,000 bills filed per session – of these only 3,431 bills were passed.
When the session came to an end, the General Appropriations Act FY2024-25 allocated approximately $144 Billion towards tax cuts, pay raises for state employees, the state energy grid and infrastructure for broadband and water.
What this means for Texas A&M Forest Service
Legislators allocated new funding above current base funding for Texas A&M Forest Service for the next two fiscal years.
Employees can expect to see a 5% across-the-board raise that will take effect July 1. A second 5% across-the-board raise will take effect Sept 1, 2024.
In addition to employee raises, newly added funding will be used to address current funding challenges in critical areas, improve employee pay, and improve emergency response capacity. Agency leadership is working on a plan to increase the agency’s pay plan and adding key positions to the workforce.
New funding to Texas A&M Forest Service above the current base funding includes:
- $146,080,058 To pay acquired wildfire and natural disaster response bills
- $21,675,000Texas A&M Forest Service Emergency response capability
- $13,049,891Local firefighting capacity (pass-through grants for fire departments)
- $3,491,1915% across-the-board raise
- $2,500,000Aviation support
- $2,056,918Motor vehicle purchases
- $1,000,000For Frelsburg Volunteer Fire Department
- $859,654Additional funding for employee group insurance
Other bills related to Texas A&M Forest Service that passed (Bill Lookup):
- HB 1772 (Ashby) Relating to the documentation required for the purchase of certain timber products; creating a criminal offense.
- HB 608 (Shaheen) Relating to the sale of fireworks before and during the Diwali holiday.
- HB 430 (VanDeaver) Relating to the criteria and qualifications for distributions under the rural volunteer fire department assistance program.