Governor signs new Texas budget with $120 million in funding vetoes

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Abbott website)

 

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed Senate Bill 1 for legislation of $217 billion to pay for the state’s next two-year fiscal period. After evaluating the new budget proposal, S&P Global Inc. financial analytics company in New York rated Texas the highest rank possible, “AAA.” This means the Lone Star state is “extremely” likely to pay back money to debtors if needed. S&P also projected the state’s employment will continue to outpace the national average at about 2 percent annually.

Governor Abbott’s Seal (Texas Governor)

“I am once again signing a budget that addresses the most pressing challenges faced by our state,” Abbott stated. “This budget funds a life-saving overhaul of Child Protective Services, ensuring children in Texas’ foster care receive the protection they deserve. Even in a tight budget climate, this budget prioritizes the safety and well-being of all Texans. It continues to fund our state’s role in securing the border, adding an additional 250 troopers to keep our communities safe. It funds the state’s natural disaster response costs to provide state resources when disaster strikes. And it better protects our law enforcement officers across the state by funding grants for bulletproof vests.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued revealing that this “budget is more than a billion dollars less in general revenue than our current budget and contains no new taxes and no new fees. It maintains almost $11 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and upholds our commitment to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and live within our means. Importantly, the budget includes my priorities of providing high-caliber bullet proof vests for law enforcement, maintaining border security and increasing funding for Child Protective Services. We have met the challenge of keeping this budget well below the growth of our population times inflation while meeting the critical needs of the state in a tight budget cycle.”

The budget calls for “all eligible prekindergarten students will receive a high-quality education by increasing standards statewide,” added Abbott. “And the state will remain competitive on the job creation front with funds to help Texas remain the best state in the nation for doing business.”

Governor Abbott vetoed eliminates about $120 million in line-items: 

•$4.2 million to the Texas Lottery Commission for a bonus to lottery retailers

•$6 million to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for air quality improvement programs in certain counties.

•Over $86 million t for LIRAP, the Low Income Vehicle Repair Assistance, Retrofit and Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program.

•$4.7 million to the Texas Department of Public Safety for safety education.

•$2.5 million to the Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board for water supply enhancement, primarily a brush-cutting program conducted on private land.

•$2 million to the Texas Water Development Board to study aquifers and brackish groundwater.

•$860,000 in funding to the Secretary of State, for aid to colonias, substandard, unincorporated subdivisions. According to the Secretary of State, more than 400,000 people reside in 2,294 colonias located primarily along the state’s 1,248-mile border with Mexico.

“This budget achieves all of these goals while restraining state-controlled spending below the growth in the state’s estimated population and inflation,” Abbott said. “During the upcoming special session of the 85th Legislature, passage of legislation or a constitutional amendment to ensure the state continues to budget within responsible spending limitations will remain a top priority.”

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