Representative Keffer & Texas House Pass Conservative State Budget

April 2, 2015

By Rep. James L. “Jim” Keffer

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 1& House Bill 2, which represent a major step towards establishing the state budget for the next two years. House Bill 1appropriates $209.8 billion, only a 3.8% increase from the previous biennium. The House budget comes in $2 billion below the spending limit and $8.4 billion below the pay as you go limit. This provides significant room for tax relief and debt reduction. No funds have been appropriated from the Economic Stabilization Fund(Rainy Day Fund), which is expected to balloon to $11billion by 2017. House Bill 2 makes supplemental appropriations and gives direction to state agencies for their spending this year. “This budget represents strong conservative fiscal discipline, while still funding key issues for the State of Texas,” said Keffer.

House Bill 1appropriates $565.2 million for border security, $41.4 billion for the Foundation School Program system, and $24.8 billion for the Department of Transportation. Additionally, HB 1addresses the Employees Retirement System by increasing funds by $265.3 million. The bill also includes $2,678,899 to accelerate the development of Palo Pinto Mountain State Park that stretches across Palo Pinto and Stephens Counties.

The Texas House budget dramatically reforms state government through increased transparency, and addresses the needs of our growing state while staying below the constitutional spending cap. HB 1invests significant resources in public schools, boosts formula funding for higher education, invests additional general revenue in transportation, and promotes border security and public safety. Additionally, HB 1accomplishes this by limiting overall spending growth to less than what is necessary to account for population and inflation increases.

House Bill 2 appropriates, in addition to amounts previously appropriated for the 2014- 2015 state fiscal biennium, $768,100,754 out of the general revenue fund to the Teacher Retirement System. “This money will help stabilize TRS while the Legislature finds a more permanent solution. I am very proud to stand with my House colleagues in support of these bills.” said Keffer.

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