The Senate Finance Committee passed Senate Bill 30 on Wednesday, sending its version of the 2023 supplemental appropriations bill for the 2022-23 budget to the Senate floor, where it is expected to be considered next week. Senate Finance Chair Joan Huffman (R-Houston) filed the bill on March 2.
SB 30 continues funding ($2.3 billion) for state hospital construction and additional inpatient psychiatric bed capacity, adds $45 million for the county courthouse grant program and includes $9.7 million to reimburse counties for holding juveniles committed, but not yet admitted, to Texas Juvenile Justice Department secure facilities due to staffing shortages. Other items of importance to counties:
- $26.8 million in general revenue funds from the McKinsey lawsuit settlement proceeds to the Opioid Abatement Trust Fund for opioid abatement projects. Some of these proceeds may pass through to local political jurisdictions, including counties.
- $400 million from the state's remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for flood mitigation projects.
- $146.1 million in ARPA funds to the Texas A&M University Forest Service for the mobilization and use of fire-fighting aircraft.
- $25 million in ARPA funds to provide seed money for federally qualified health centers that serve medically underserved communities, many of which are in rural Texas counties.
SB 30 spends $11.85 billion in all funds and $5 billion in general revenue funds. The big-ticket items are $8.2 billion in general revenue savings in public education costs, mainly due to school district property value increases; $2.9 billion in general revenue spending to cover a shortfall in the Medicaid program; and $3.9 billion, contingent upon the passage of related legislation, to provide rate relief to customers for gas charges related to the costs of Winter Storm Uri in 2021.
Roughly $1.5 billion of the funding added by SB 30 is from federal ARPA funds. As county officials know, ARPA funds are on a timeline. They must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.
For more on the components of SB 30, see this infographic.
In the House, Appropriations Committee Chair Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood) filed the House version of the 2023 supplemental appropriations bill, HB 500, on Tuesday. HB 500 and SB 30 are virtually identical with one exception: SB 30 adds $100 million in general revenue to the Governor's Office for a film incentive program, the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program.
For more on the state budget process and this article, please contact Zelma Smith.