Texas House Begins Budget Debate
The Texas Senate has passed a proposed state budget, now it’s the House’s turn. Beginning Thursday morning lawmakers will begin debating what the state should pay for over the next two years. Lawmakers may also try to slim in some items that have nothing to do with spending.
The House’s chief budget writer John Zerwas says the House version of the budget focuses heavily on the needs of Texas children.
“And probably in that area, education is probably one of the single most important focuses and we need to make sure that we fund the growth of education, as we know we have thousands upon thousands kids that come into the public school system every year," Zerwas says.
The state Senate’s budget left what the state spends per student as is. The House budget increases funding for public schools and gives school districts $200 more for each child.
The House proposal also adds $3.5 million to the foster care system, for more and better paid caseworkers and to assist families caring for foster children.
Social conservatives have signaled that they’ll also try to attach some issues to the House budget that don’t require state funding. They’ll try to tack on the transgender bathroom bill, for example, which has passed the senate but is dying in the House.
Rep. Jonathan Stickland is a Republican from Bedford.
“People are starting to get desperate at this point in the session and this is what happens when House leadership has micromanaged every aspect, they’ve been telling us for over a month now that they are not going to do anything else until after the budget," Strickland says.
Zerwas says bills that aren’t related to spending shouldn’t be in the budget.