Capitol Update: First drafts of state budget released

January 21, 2019

Brooke and I waiting outside the Capitol as the inauguration gets started.

With the 86th Legislature sworn in, last week was the inauguration of the governor and lieutenant governor.  I was pleased to hear Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick agree with the House’s commitment to our public schools.  Both renewed their support for our students and teachers and to funding public education.  It is only with increased state funding that we can provide meaningful property tax reform to Texans.

The House and the Senate both released their first draft of the state budget last week.  The House increased spending on public education by almost 17%, or about $9 billion.  This funding would go largely to increase per-student funding but would also have increases in funding for retired teacher’s pensions, enhancements to school security in wake of the Santa Fe shootings, and disaster relief for school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey.  You can find a copy of the House’s budget proposal here.

The Senate’s budget proposes an additional $6 billion in education funding and mandates that school districts give teachers a $5,000 annual pay raise.  You can find a copy of the Senate’s budget proposal here.

Governor Abbott giving his inauguration speech.

I am pleased to see both the House and the Senate putting money into our number one priority and I look forward to working with Speaker Bonnen, Lt. Gov. Patrick and Gov. Abbott to make sure that we are properly funding our schools and paying our teachers while providing tax relief to property owners.

In my talks with folks across East Texas, through countless town hall meetings, conversations during the elections, and meetings with groups of all kinds, I know that education funding and property tax relief are the most important issues to East Texans, and I am committed to delivering results that will provide relief for homeowners while ensuring a long term solution to the state dwindling spending on education.   I know that these are lofty goals, but I am confident that we can find a way to tackle all of these issues.

While I know that education and property tax funding are important issues, I know that these are not the only issues that will be addressed this session.  I want to encourage you to reach out to me about issues that concern you or ideas for legislation that would help make Texas an even better place to live.  I can be reached at 512-463-0556 or