State Capital Highlights
Legislature completes regular session with main task accomplished
AUSTIN — The 140-day 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature ended on May 29 with hugs, tears and fanfare, plus demonstrations against “anti-immigrant” legislation and a scuffle involving members on the House floor.
Primarily, though, both chambers signed off on Senate Bill 1, the state budget for 2018-2019, and in doing so accomplished their only constitutionally required task.
The budget appropriates $106.7 billion in general revenue and almost $1 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund. The budget totals $217 billion, including federal funds and other dollars.
“We started with a sizable shortfall,” said House Speaker Joe Straus. “But we are ending this session with a balanced budget that invests in some very important priorities. We’re keeping overall spending low while improving child protection and mental health care.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, said, “This state budget is more than a billion dollars less in general revenue than our current budget. It upholds our commitment to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and to live within our means. It maintains almost $11 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.”
Fourteen House members and one Senate member voted against SB 1. Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., D-Mission, was one of them. The final version of the budget would spend almost $1.4 billion less than originally appropriated and result in cuts of $2.4 billion to Health & Human Services, $1 billion to public education and reductions to other areas as well, Muñoz said.
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