HB 1, Texas’ Budget
The House budget, HB 1, now goes to the Senate where good and responsible reductions can be undone.
The House reduced spending about 23 billion (12.3%) compared to the previous budget. More than 400 amendments were offered. Some interesting amendments accepted:
-Amendment 6 by David Simpson – Shifts roughly $5 million from the Commission on the Arts to Department of Aging and Disability Services (nursing homes)
-Amendment 123 by Warren Chisum – Establishes a prioritization for Family Planning dollars to be spent on public entities prior to private entities – effectively prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds.
Several other amendments shift monies from Planned Parenthood to other activities.
-Amendment 181 by Jerry Madden – Requires the Dept. of Criminal Justice to charge employees the cost for certain meals provided to them.
– Amendment 244 by Phil King – Eliminates $100 million in broad-based new fees from H.B. 1
The Senate will make changes. The Senate will attempt to craft a budget that reinstates many cuts made in the House. The Senate is right now looking for new and enhanced ‘other than tax’ revenues; meaning new and higher ‘fees’ or taxes in disguise.
Whatever the Senate does will go to a House/Senate conference due to expected significant differences. There is a chance that no budget will be approved before end of session, resulting in a special session to finish the work.
Our focus now shifts to the Senate, where even ‘fiscally responsible’ members may be sorely tempted or tempted by sorely twisted arms to go back to taxing and spending.
A Texans’ wallet is never safe until the final ‘sine die’ rings out. Do not let down your guard.