Texas

Texas Legislature Passes $217 Billion Budget

The two-year package includes extra funding for foster care and mental health, but shifts more of public school costs onto local taxpayers.

The Texas House and Senate voted Saturday to approve a $217 billion budget to fund the state government through August 2019.

The Senate voted 30-1 to pass the compromise package worked out by conferees from both chambers. The sole no vote was Houston Democrat Sylvia Garcia. The House approved the budget earlier that evening by a margin of 135-14.

The deal includes expanded funding for Child Protective Services and community colleges. But the House’s effort to increase state funding for public schools fell through.

“What’s going to happen is that local property taxpayers are going to continue bear the burden of increasingly funding our schools,” said Tarrant County Representative Chris Turner, leader of the House Democratic caucus.

The package also contains $300 million to replace or repair state mental health facilities.

“Many of us know the state of disrepair our state hospitals are in,” said Fort Bend County Republican John Zerwas, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “This is a giant step towards actually achieving some significant improvement in those facilities.”

The budget is the one bill the Legislature is required to pass before the session can end. It now goes to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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