On Wednesday, state representatives went late into the night to unanimously pass the $250 billion state budget, House Bill 1, the budget for the 2020-2021 period.
Over 300 amendments to HB 1 were proposed, though most of them did not end up passing. HB 1 will now move to the Senate side where it will be discussed in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.
The budget includes $9 billion more for public education - $6 billion of which will go to school districts and $3 billion which will pay for property tax relief.
HB 1 also includes money to give retired teachers a 13th check as long as a pension reform bill is passed.
Representatives also passed a $9 billion supplemental spending plan to pay leftover expenses from the 85th session that the current budget does not cover. Most of this supplemental funding will go to pay for expenses related to health and human services and Hurricane Harvey recovery.
It also includes funding for school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey, for improving school safety, and for improvements to state mental hospitals.
Over half of the money for this supplemental spending plan will come from the Texas savings account. The rest will come from the general revenue funds and federal funds.
The Senate's budget proposal and supplemental budget proposal is SB 1 and SB 500, respectively. The Senate will pass its own version of the budget in the coming weeks.
J.M. Lozano is the State Rep. for Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg and San Patricio counties.