Live updates: Texas House to debate $302.6 billion state budget
Watch the budget debate here
Here’s what you need to know about today’s debate
The Texas House is set on Thursday to hammer out a $302.6 billion proposal for how the state will spend taxpayer dollars over the next two years.
On this highly anticipated “Budget Day” in the lower chamber, state representatives will pore over the details of House Bill 1. This 979-page bill proposes spending $136.9 billion in general revenue — and another $170 billion in federal dollars — on the business of the state for the 2024-25 budget cycle.
They have an unprecedented amount of cash to work with, including a historic $32.7 billion cash surplus, and hundreds of ideas before them on how to spend it.
The budget bill serves as the jumping off point for Thursday’s floor debate. Among its marquee items are $16.7 billion for property tax cuts, as well as money for raises for current and retired teachers, and boosts in funding for state mental health services and school security programs.
But House members have already prefiled nearly 400 amendments that could be debated, including swapping out funding for their own priorities or creating new laws and legal definitions within the language of the bill.
Proposed amendments range from adding more money for public schools to banning funding for private school voucher programs and targeting drag shows on college campuses.
At the end of a day expected to last 15 hours or more, if a majority of the House’s 67 Democrats and 83 Republicans can agree on a plan, they’ll send it to the Texas Senate for the upper chamber’s chance to craft its own proposal.
Near the end of the session, the two chambers will attempt to hammer out their differences and, if they succeed, send a compromise to Gov. Greg Abbott.
Passing a balanced budget is the only constitutional requirement for the Texas Legislature, which winds up its session at the end of May. In Texas, state lawmakers meet every two years.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/04/06/texas-house-budget/.
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