The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) has concluded its public hearings on SB 2 – its version of the state budget. All last month, the committee heard testimonies from 171 state agencies. In total, $25 billion in exceptional items were requested in agencies' budget priorities. No definitive decisions have been reached by the SFC, other than the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) has posted several tentative decision documents that are likely to change until a final decision is rendered and the budget is voted out of the committee.
Likewise, the LBB has posted various adopted decision documents for the House Appropriations Committee (HAC). The House's version of the state budget is HB 1.
The TAC 30-page summary budget document will reflect the mark-up decisions made by both committees (SFC and HAC) as soon as both bills are passed out of their respective committees.
On another significant note, Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) and Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) held a press conference earlier this week to announce the filing of HB 6 and HB 7. Both bills would further a recent effort to reduce the state's reliance on money that accumulated in dedicated accounts to certify the state budget. These funds total over $4 billion and are rarely used for their intended purpose. Rep. Darby also filed House Joint Resolution 111. This would seek voter approval to eliminate the practice of the state collecting fees and not using them for their intended purpose within 10 years.
Both bills were filed in response to a Legislative Budget Board report issued in February called, "Further Reduce Reliance on General Revenue-Dedicated Accounts for Certification of the State Budget."
For more information, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.