The Texas Budget: What You Need to Know

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First things first, as you might already know the proposed budgets in both the House and Senate for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years keep in place the deep cuts made during the 2011 legislative session despite an $8.8 billion dollar surplus estimated by the comptroller.

Paul Burka wrote this yesterday regarding the budget: (emphasis mine)  

“I don't get it. We have the biggest revenue estimate in the history of the state, $101 billion, and it appears that the House and Senate want their budgets to be under 2011 numbers, which was the worst year in the history of the state. This is absolutely nuts. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no public policy in this state; there is only ideology.

  • Of the projected surplus, $6.8 billion will have to be used to pay some bills that the 2012-2013 budget of the 2011 session didn't take care of (yes that's right, it's not really a balanced budget).
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  • The $5.4 billion they cut for public education last time is still in place but in this budget they actually account for expected enrollment growth (which they didn't do last session).
  • Despite the use of some of the projected surplus money, there is still about $5.5 billion left in available revenue that both the proposed House and Senate budget leave untouched.
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  • These bills are just as filed; a lot can happen in the next few months, and a lot hasn't even happened yet, including the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committee assignments. Six spots have been vacated since last session on House Appropriations and two spots are vacated on Senate Finance.
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  • No money in either budget is from the Rainy Day Fund which has an estimated balance of $11.8 billion
  • The House Budget did not provide any money for standardized testing (aka STAAR) saving $98 million, whoever is tapped to be the next Public Education Chair in House (yes Eissler and Hochberg are both gone) will have their work cut out for them
  • That's all for now folks. Please feel free to leave comments on what I've missed.  

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