AUSTIN, TX — On Monday at 10:00 AM, the Senate Finance Committee will hold its first public hearing of the legislative session. The agenda includes an overview of the Biennial Revenue Estimate by Comptroller Glenn Hegar, an overview of Senate Bill (SB) 1, the appropriations bill, by Jerry McGinty, Director of the Legislative Budget Board, and will begin hearing from the heads of our of general government agencies. The hearing on Monday will be the first of many public hearings and meetings that will take place over the next several months to decide how the record surplus revenue will be spent for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025. The Senate Finance Committee will be led by Senator Joan Huffman who was named chair in January of 2022. Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, will serve as vice chair.
Senator Hinojosa released the following statement:
“I’m looking forward to kicking off the budget writing process with our first hearing set for Monday at 10:00 AM. SB 1, as filed, is just a starting point. These public hearings are an opportunity for the members of the Committee to hear invited testimony from all state agencies and to get the public’s input on how our tax dollars should be allocated.
The starting point, All Funds budget, including federal funds, is $288.7 billion. This includes $130.1 billion in General Fund (state) dollars which is an increase of $11.9 billion from the previous session. This means that we are still $4 billion below the spending limit, which was adopted in November 2022, and $17.1 billion below the Consolidated General Revenue Limit. On top of that, we have an estimated $5.4 billion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds remaining to be allocated.
The proposed budget already includes $15 billion for property tax relief, of which $3 billion will be used to increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000. It also includes $650 million for community colleges to increase student performance and workforce training, $600 million for school safety initiatives, billions of dollars across agencies to support mental health initiatives, and salary increases for state employees. These are just some examples of the investments already included in the budget.
I remain committed to using this opportunity with historic revenues to provide property tax relief, increasing salaries for teachers, state employees, and peace officers. I also look forward to supporting our retired teachers and investing in our roads, broadband, water and drainage infrastructure, and the electric grid. I encourage the members of the public to attend the hearings to provide input as we move forward with the budget writing process.”
The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled public hearings on SB 1 from Monday, January 30th until Friday, February 17th. Additional information and a list of agendas with the agencies scheduled to testify, can be found at, https://capitol.texas.gov/Committees/MeetingsByCmte.aspx?Leg=88&Chamber=S&CmteCode=C540.
The House of Representatives will soon appoint members to the House Appropriations Committee. When organized, House Appropriations will undergo a similar process hearing from all state agencies and also seeking input from the public.