At the conclusion of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, the issue of public school finance was still unresolved — leaving roughly a $4 billion gap in the state budget for the next biennium (2012-13). Through a special session called by the governor, the Legislature enacted SB 2, which addressed the dilemma centering around public school finance and added funding to various other state programs to offset the severe budget reductions in HB 1 (General Appropriations Act).
Several of these programs directly impact counties. The 9-1-1 State Emergency Communications program, for example, was initially reduced by 8 percent or $7.6 million in HB 1. But SB 2 added $11.7 million back to the program which is a 4 percent overall increase.
Other programs that received additional funding include:
- Texas Forest Service: $40 million added to combat wildfires
- Indigent Defense Program: $7.6 million added to restore grants to counties
- Basic Civil Legal Services: $17.4 million added to the program to help the indigent with legal issues
- Disaster Funding (Trusteed Office of the Governor): $39 million added to the program
TAC has prepared a comprehensive list of the state budget cuts and the possible impact they will have on counties. On July 19, 2011, the governor signed SB 2, which became effective immediately.
For more information on this article, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.