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Government/Politics

Senate Approves $211 Billion Budget With Emphasis On Tax Cuts, Transportation and Border Security

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Ryan E. Poppe

Texas Senators approved their version of a two-year state budget.  That budget contains record spending levels for border security and an increase for public education.

The Senate’s chief budget writer, Flower Mound Republican Senator Jane Nelson says they were able to increase state spending and cut taxes while staying within the state’s spending limit.

“We are providing $4.5 billion dollars in tax relief, we are adding $5 billion dollars in new funding for transportation, we are increasing our investment in public schools, we are appropriating $811 million dollars for increasing safety along the border,” Nelson explained to her colleagues on the Senate floor.

Lawmakers from both chambers will soon take both the Senate and House versions to hash out what spending elements and amounts stay and which get cut. That’s where San Antonio Democratic Sen. Jose Menendez is hoping to tweak elements of the budget.

“I’d like us to fully fund full-day Pre-K statewide, it’s not in this budget, the House budget has it in there, so we have to get to conference, I mean this is the only budget that constitutionally we have to pass, but I did like the fact that we fully covered enrollment growth for our public schools and that we have assistance for our property-poor districts which I have in my district,” Menendez said.

The bill passed out of the senate on a vote of 30 to 1.   The next step in the process will be hand-selected an even number of lawmakers from both the House and the Senate to serve on the conference committee and ultimately decide what the state will spend it’s money in 2016 and 2017 and by what amount.