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Compared: House and Senate Budgets

By Paul Emerson
TAC State Financial Analyst

With a little more than a month remaining in the legislative session, SB 1 is still making its way through the legislative process. SB 1 is now on the Senate Intent Calendar and could be heard as soon as Monday, May 1.

If SB 1 passes the Senate as anticipated, the bill will next head to a conference committee where five members from both the House and the Senate will be assigned to work out a compromise between the two versions of the state budget.

State Budget: Senate Versus House
As of Friday, April 29, the Senate version of the state budget stands at $176.5 billion, slightly less than 6 percent of the current budget (2011-12) which ends Aug. 31, 2011. Unlike the House, the Senate’s budget uses $3.1 billion of the Rainy Day Fund. The Senate version is almost $12 billion higher than the House budget, which only stands at $164.5 billion. But even with this increase, the Senate version will still fall about $7.8 billion short in the areas of health and human services compared to current biennium spending. According to Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), the Senate budget still leaves Medicaid spending about $3 billion short of what current law requires.

The following are a few of the big ticket items that were increased in the current version of SB 1 compared to the Senate's introduced version of the budget:

  • provides $200 million more for mental health services.
  • adds $4.3 billion more for public schools.
  • provides $400 million more for textbooks.
  • adds $200 million more for Texas Grants to college students.
  • adds $249 million more to the Department of Public Safety.
  • provides $358 million more to the Texas Criminal Justice Department.

In addition, the TAC County Information Projects has identified cuts in at least 40 agencies’ programs that could have a direct impact on counties. This list compares the current budget (2010-11) with each chamber’s proposed state budget. The last two columns on the far right in the table show the percent change between the current budget and both proposed state budgets.

For more information on this article, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974 or .