House budget bills to be debated today - making for a very, very long day
CSSB 1 [PDF] would increase spending for fiscal years (FY) 2006 and 2007 by 8.6 percent over the current biennium.
CSSB 1 would increase spending by:
-$5.3 billion for public education - 15.2 percent increase;
-$4.4 billion for Health and Human Services - 10.1 percent increase;
-$536 million for higher education - 3.2 percent increase; and
-$2.9 billion for business and economic development - 18.4 percent increase.
Would decrease spending by:
-$103 million for natural resources - 4.4 percent decrease.
Comparison: The budget proposal under CSSB 1 is $1.8 billion less than SB 1, which would spend a total of $139.3 billion. CSSB 1 would allocate $1 billion less than SB 1 for higher education, but CSSB 1 would allocate $2.8 billion more for public education than SB 1.
"Corporate Slush Funds": Well, at least in the words of my favorite firecracker, Rep. Garnet Coleman. The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), which received $295 million last biennium, is slated to receive $140.7 million from CSSB 1, with the possibility of another $130 million through a contingency rider on SB 1177 - a bill that has to do with the Skills Development Holding Fund.
However, there is a handful of amendments that would strip all TEF allocations to spend on other state programs. So far, I have seen no amendments that would strip the money from the "Emerging Technologies Fund," which is a very similar fund to the TEF. The proposed fund would allocate more money to institutions of higher education for technology transfer, which is a process that brings university research to the market. Although I have yet to see one, I thought there could be an amendment to re-allocate some or all money for this fund to TEXAS Grants, since the popular grant program would be cut.
The TEXAS Grant program received $324 million in FY2004-2005, which was $188 million short of being fully funded. In 2004, 30,000 students did not receive the grant due to cuts, and roughly 49,000 students will not receive the grant this year. CSSB 1 proposes cutting TEXAS Grants by only $1.5 million, for a total allocation of nearly $323 million for FY2006-2007.
HB 10 is a supplement to the House budget, CSSB 1, which would allocate money for the state to spend immediately. HB 10 would spend $850 million from General Revenue and would re-designate $1.91 billion in money currently in the rainy day fund to spend on Health and Human Services, Child Protective Services (CPS), and public education.
Specifically, HB 10 would give:
- $767.6 million to public education for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 - for textbooks, teacher certification, and for the health insurance passthrough through the Teacher Retirement System (TRS);
- $735.4 million to public education for FY2006 and FY2007. TRS would also receive $200 million for health insurance for retirees for FY2006 and FY2007;
- $1.2 billion to Medicaid;
- $234.6 million to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
- $85.6 million to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC); and
- $382.3 million to CPS.
Both bills will be debated today on the House floor.