The House Appropriations Committee finalized its version of the General Appropriations Act (CSHB 1) this past week by allocating an additional $8.1 billion in all funds to the baseline House bill. As of now, $164.5 billion is appropriated in CSHB 1 for the next two years, which represents a decrease of $22.9 billion, or 12.3 percent, from the current biennium (2010-11).
Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) expects to have CSHB 1 on the House floor by Friday, April 1. House members will have only the next few days to analyze CSHB 1 and prepare floor amendments. Each legislative session hundreds of amendments are filed to CSHB 1, but only a small percentage of them are actually adopted. During the last budget shortfall in 2003, for example, more than 325 amendments were filed for various projects and programs. In the past, amendments had to be revenue neutral — not causing the budget to increase. Normally, the Senate as a whole passes the General Appropriations Act without any floor amendments.
The TAC County Information Project is currently updating the 19-page budget summary report which will include changes from CSHB 1. This report will be available on the TAC website several days before CSHB 1 is presented on the House floor. For more information, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.