House and Senate Set up Key Subcommittees on Education Budget

Continuing our focus on the budget-writing process, which is where most of the early action is under way in the Texas Legislature, today we highlight two new subcommittees that will lead the drafting efforts in the state House and Senate on education funding. In the House, the so-called Article III subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee […]

House Budget Writers Signal Readiness to Use Reserve Fund as Intended to Cover Shortfalls

The one must-pass bill in the current legislative session is the budget, which holds the key to equitable and adequate funding of public pre-K/12 and higher education. Now that House committees have been named by Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), the House Appropriations Committee has been quick to start its hearings on the drafting of […]

Texas AFT Proposes a School Budget Plan That Actually Meets Needs—and Tells How to Pay for It

In the face of a state Senate budget draft that would actually reduce state general-purpose revenue for public schools by $2.2 billion, Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi testified Tuesday in support of a progressive alternative. Here is what she said to the Senate Finance Committee: The Legislature is beginning the 2018-2019 budget cycle with […]

State Budget Hearings Begin with House Pushing for Higher Funding than Senate

The Senate Finance Committee, which will write the Senate version of the state budget for fiscal years 2018-19, began formal hearings Monday with an overview of a first draft of Senate Bill 1 that would provide $8 billion less for public services than the House proposes. The Senate budget draft would provide $2.2 billion less […]

Texas Senate Committees Named

The Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, announced committee assignments Wednesday, including significant changes in the roster of the Senate Education Committee. Patrick eliminated from the committee two stalwart supporters of public education, Sens. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), and he enlarged the Republican majority, leaving the committee with eight rather […]

Policy Choices, Not Oil Prices, Constrain State Budget Writers

Newspaper headlines may be telling you a state budget shortfall is looming, caused by the recent retreat of oil prices and hence oil revenue for the state. But those headlines are seriously misleading. On the eve of the new state legislative session that begins January 10, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar did indeed tell us the […]

Week of Hearings on Funding Issues, Including School Finance

On Tuesday the legislative and gubernatorial budget experts heard from the Texas Education Agency regarding school finance. The most important takeaway from this hearing was the acknowledgment that rising local property-tax values will translate into a substantial reduction in the state’s funding for public education. Assuming no changes in current formulas, state aid would decline […]

Telling the Truth about the State Budget

With a new legislative session coming up next January, lawmakers already are busy defining the terms of debate about the state’s budget and its capacity to meet needs for basic services such as public education. State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), a key player in the Texas House on the budget-writing committee, has just published an […]

State’s Revenue Situation Reported by Comptroller

Comptroller Glenn Hegar and staff told the legislative leadership today that the state’s economy has weathered the downturn in oil and gas prices better than other energy-producing states such as Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  Hegar and company cited the diversity of the state’s economy as an important reason Texas has […]

Political Choices, Not Oil Prices, Dictate Shape of State Budget

You’ve probably heard news reports that state oil revenues are down and that the state budget must be trimmed in response. Texas may indeed be in for a bout of budgetary stringency, but the real causes lie elsewhere. The best account we’ve seen of what’s really going on comes from independent budget analyst Eva DeLuna […]