McAllen, TX – After putting South Texas at the forefront of critical state budget negotiations as Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa announces his intention to seek re-election to a fourth term in the Texas Senate. Senator Hinojosa intends to continue his work for Senate District 20 in creating jobs, furthering economic development, crafting smart border security solutions, and providing for an educated and healthy workforce.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“South Texas is increasingly playing a larger role in shaping our state’s future. Now more than ever we need experienced leaders who have the courage to put people over politics and govern with compassion. Though the session is over, the critical issues we face in Texas continue and challenges remain. I am not done working.
I am honored to serve the constituents of Senate District 20 and I look forward to continue fighting to make Texas a better place to live for all our families. Semper Fi.”
Known for his ability to work across party lines, rise above petty politics, and get things done for working Texans, Senator Hinojosa’s experience and leadership helped craft a balanced budget addressing many of our state’s needs that will pave the way for a successful Texas economy. As Vice Chair of Senate Finance, he secured millions of dollars in funding for Senate District 20 priorities that will create local economic opportunities, including:
- Infrastructure: Over $700 million in funds secured for the Harbor Bridge replacement in Corpus Christi. More than a decade of planning and development has come to fruition and will ensure the Coastal Bend will thrive as a local and international port promising economic growth, prosperity, and jobs for years to come.
- First Medical School in South Texas: In 2013, Senator Hinojosa championed historic legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 24 creating the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the first ever medical school in South Texas. This expansion of educational opportunities will create greater access to healthcare, more jobs, a healthy educated workforce, and a great economic boost to our families and communities in South Texas.
- South Texas Universities: $61 million for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Medical School, $30.6 million in tuition revenue bonds for construction of an interdisciplinary engineering academic building at the campus in Edinburg, and a total of over $326 million for UTRGV. This places UTRGV as the second-highest among UT System institutions in appropriated funds, an enviable position proving the reality that our region is transforming through the creation of a new university. Also, $60 million in tuition revenue bonds for Texas A&M Corpus Christi for construction of a life sciences research and engineering building, $7 million for the Engineering Program, and $10 million for Texas A&M Healthy South Texas Initiative.
- Tax Relief: Over $4 billion in tax relief to our Texas homeowners and small businesses. $1.2 billion in property tax relief will benefit homeowners by raising the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000 and decrease the taxes they will have to pay. Small business owners will get a tax break with $2.6 billion in franchise tax relief, including a 25% rate reduction.
- Military Communities: $30 million to help our military communities protect their facilities from closures or reductions. This is critical to Corpus Christi who is home to the Corpus Christi Army Depot, the world’s largest military helicopter repair facility that accounts for over 6,000 jobs in the Coastal Bend.
- Border Security: Senator Hinojosa advocated that we need to make better use of taxpayer dollars by developing a smart border security plan to phase out National Guard troops and replace them with a permanent solution. Through hard work and compromise, we invested $800 million into border security that includes a new Texas Rangers Company along the border, more Game Wardens, more Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission agents, additional funding for our local law enforcement agencies, and additional DPS troopers statewide.
- Mental Health and Healthcare: We significantly increased our commitment to mental health services with behavioral health and substance abuse services funded at $3.6 billion in All Funds, an increase of $150.7 million over the last biennium. Women’s Health Services are a priority and were funded at $262 million, an increase of $50 million. We also increased community services for individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities, including expanding crisis intervention centers across the state.
- Public Education: $130 million grant program to improve the quality of Pre-K which is definitely a step in the right direction. We fully funded public education enrollment growth for 93,000 additional students and created a new $22.8 million Math Academy and a $17.8 million Reading Academy to support K-3 teacher training.
- Higher Education: $1.1 billion in additional funding for higher education and increased formula funding by 3% to enhance student affordability. $74.2 million in additional financial aid funding, including $62.7 million for the TEXAS Grants program to serve 90% of all applicants in 2016. We also invested over $60 million for graduate medical education to increase residency slots to increase the doctors in our state.
Senator Hinojosa has received the prestigious honor of being named “Top Ten Best Legislators” for Texas Monthly magazine three times, and named “Top Ten Legislator” byCapitol Inside three times.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa serves as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development, Criminal Justice, Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), and the Sunset Advisory Commission.