House Appropriations Committee Convenes, Receives Subcommittee Assignments

This Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for crafting the state’s biennial budget, convened for the first time this legislative session. At the hearing, the committee received testimony from Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

At the hearing, Hegar discussed the state’s unprecedented $33 billion surplus, which is 26% larger than the state’s surplus last session. Hegar cautioned that a surplus of this magnitude is unlikely to occur again in the near future. Several lawmakers suggested that these funds be used to fully fund public education. The basic allotment, the core building block for the state’s per-pupil public education funding, has not increased since 2019, despite the fact that both inflation and state revenues have increased significantly over that period.

Morath testified that the teacher attrition rate is at an all-time high. In his testimony, Morath highlighted the fact that rural educators make significantly less than the statewide average teacher salary. He said that if the basic allotment increased by just $50, it would result in an overall increase of $71 per student due to the fact other state allotments are tied to the basic allotment. Texas AFT is calling for the basic allotment to be increased to at least $7,075, up from $6,160.

On Wednesday, subcommittee assignments were announced for the House Appropriations Committee. The subcommittee on Article III is the most consequential for public education. These subcommittee members are ultimately responsible for appropriating the funds to pay for educator raises, a TRS COLA, and any other education funding increases. The members of the Article III subcommittee are:

Chair:Rep. Gary VanDeaver
Vice Chair:Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
Members:Rep. John Bryant
Rep. Carrie Isaac
Rep. Armando Martinez
Rep. Geanie W. Morrison
Rep. Evelina “Lina” Ortega
Rep. Carl Tepper
Rep. Kronda Thimesch