The House Appropriations Committee is continuing its work on the budget for the 2018-19 biennium. Additionally, the supplemental appropriations bill, House Bill 2, has been filed — that is the bill that fills the gap for underfunded programs in our current two-year budget cycle.
Here’s a quick preview of what to expect in the budget conversations in the coming weeks and months:
Overall Budget Priorities – At the start of session, House Democrats laid out key budget priorities that remain unchanged: improve funding for our public schools, expanding health care coverage, making college more affordable for Texas families, and fully funding fixes to crises facing Texas children. Those crises include CPS reform, fixing the cuts to acute therapy, and ensuring we fully support special-education services to children in need. Those priorities remain unchanged.
Using the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) – Our state’s savings account is expected to have nearly $12 billion in the bank by the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Appropriations Chairman John Zerwas has proposed using a portion of the ESF for the supplemental budget.
Overall, it is important to remember that the ESF was created to stabilize the state’s budget in times when revenue dips. Using the ESF now, both in the supplemental appropriations bill and even for the next budget, is a responsible approach.