The Texas Senate Finance Committee has recently approved several measures that could enable the state to spend billions of dollars on numerous programs.
Such programs include community colleges, property tax cuts, and mental health services. Also, under the new measures, retired teachers in Texas could get cost-of-living adjustments amounting to $3.7 billion while $5 billion has been set aside for current teachers and other educators’ pay raises.
Additionally, Texas could spend $650 million on school safety measures. The latest budgetary efforts involved a behind-the-scenes process that considered numerous requests for funding from various state agencies, advocacy groups, and private citizens, ultimately totaling tens of billions of dollars.
The Texas Senate Finance Committee is expected to have a formal vote in mid-April on the revamped bill, which also contains a provision to fund a ban on diversity, inclusion, and equity offices on college and university campuses. The committee also set aside money for broadband programs, a Texas “water fund” that will finance future water projects, foster care services, and county election worker security training.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is also set to receive more than half a billion dollars, with $150 million allocated to Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster relief fund. State leaders have been presented with a historic budget surplus of $32.7 billion. However, both the House and Senate have plans that leave tens of billions of dollars in available cash and revenue on the table.