Budgets determine policy. That was the reminder from TAC Legislative Services Director Noe Barrios that kicked off Tuesday's weekly breakfast meeting and introduced an overview of the initial budget bills for the 2024-25 biennium that the Texas House and Senate filed last week.
Both budget proposals spend about $136 billion in general revenue over the next two years, TAC Legislative Services' financial analyst Zelma Smith said. This amount is well below spending caps set by the Texas Constitution and state law, Smith said, leaving legislators with additional money to allocate as they negotiate a final budget before the session ends on May 29.
Smith identified a few county-related highlights in the initial budget bills, which she lists in her budget report for this week's newsletter. For county-relevant details, see our State Budget Worksheet.
Jim Allison, general counsel for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, said he was generally pleased with the baseline budgets as a starting point for the long work that lies ahead. We'll be watching the budget-writing process closely and will update our worksheet and provide additional information as the session progresses.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Senate committee assignments on Monday. (House assignments are to come.) As they did last session, Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) chairs the Committee on Local Government and Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) chairs the Committee on State Affairs. Both committees oversee legislation of particular importance to counties.
At this point in the session, there are more proposals than there are details. County affiliate organizations continue to analyze bills, meet with legislators and take care of other early-session work as they prepare for the torrent of activity to come.
TAC's Tuesday Morning Breakfasts will keep you on top of the Capitol's ever-changing legislative landscape. Please join us each Tuesday from 7 to 8 a.m. through May 23.
Register here for the Jan. 31 Tuesday Morning Breakfast.
Virtual registrants will receive a Webex link in advance of the meeting. If you plan to attend virtually, this Webex Videoconferencing Best Practices document will help you troubleshoot any connectivity issues you may have.
The TAC building is located at 1210 San Antonio St. Breakfasts will be held in the TAC Boardroom on the fourth floor. Free parking is available in TAC garage. The entrance is on 13th Street between Nueces and San Antonio streets.
Please contact Amy Ruedas at (800) 456‑5974 with any questions about the breakfast meetings.