Border Security: House Bill 1 provides $840 million in All Funds for border security. That investment will allow for the hiring of 250 new Department of Public Safety troopers and allow a 50-hour work week for all troopers. It will also fund the implementation of House Bill 11, which will bring consistency to the state’s border security strategy.
Businesses and Professionals: The largest single tax repeal this session ends the “Professionals Tax,” a $200 annual fee on over 600,000 professionals across the state. The legislature also permanently reduced the Franchise Tax by 25%, saving Texans $2.6 billion.
Higher Education: The budget provides more resources for higher education, including medical education and TEXAS Grants, the state’s financial aid program. The legislature also authorized the issuance of $3.1 billion in tuition revenue bonds over the course of 30 years for institutions of higher education to finance construction and improvement of infrastructure and related facilities.
Mental Health: The budget increases funding for behavioral health and substance abuse services by $151 million, providing additional resources for both inpatient and outpatient services.
Pensions: The budget provides funding to address a shortfall in retired teachers’ health care and the solvency of the state employee pension system.
Property Tax Relief: This fall you will have an opportunity to vote to increase your homestead exemption by an additional $10,000, bringing your total exemption to $25,000.
Public Education: The budget pays for an increase of roughly 80,000 students per year in the state’s overall public school enrollment. On top of that investment, it provides an additional $1.5 billion for public education. The legislature also increased funding for 400 school districts in the state that were adversely impacted by the 2006 school finance reforms, bringing an additional $100,000,000 a year to these impacted districts, which include Conroe, Magnolia, Montgomery, and Tomball ISDs.
Transportation: This fall you will have an opportunity to vote to dedicate up to $2.5B of sales tax revenue (over $28B) to the state highway fund, as well as dedicate 35% of the motor vehicle tax (over $5B) to the state highway fund. This money can only be used to construct, maintain, or acquire rights of way for non-tolled roads or to repay the principal and interest on existing bonds. Reversing a decades-old practice, the budget uses all of the money in the State Highway Fund for transportation instead of using some of those dollars for other programs.
State Parks: The legislature provided more transparency in the Sporting Goods Sales Tax by dedicating 100% to Texas Parks & Wildlife. As a result, this budget dedicates $40.8 million more than last biennium to our state and local parks.