On Monday, the Texas Senate considered House Bill 1, or the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the next biennium (fiscal years 2024 and 2025). The legislation represents the proposed state budget, the only item that lawmakers are constitutionally bound to consider before the conclusion of the legislative session.
The Texas House of Representatives considered the legislation in early April.
After only one failed amendment attempt, the Senate passed the proposed state budget unanimously. It will now go back to the Texas House of Representatives, where it is almost certain they will appoint a conference committee to reconcile the differences between versions.
Highlighted Differences in Senate Version
As proposed, the Texas Senate’s version of the proposed state budget seeks to appropriate $308 billion (a 16.3% increase above appropriations from the previous biennium), an increase from the House’s version of $302.7 billion (a 14.3% increase above appropriations from previous biennium). Notably, both versions remained above a frozen Texas budget, as preferred by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR).
Though the Senate version does include appropriations for property tax relief, it is important to note that they lessened the amount of property tax relief being allocated, when compared to the Texas House. The Senate’s version of the proposed budget now only includes a total of $15.1 billion for the purpose of property tax relief; once you factor in the $5.3 billion that represents previous property tax relief efforts, however, the amount of new tax relief only amounts to $9.8 billion. Notably, that is less than half of what would truly constitute the “biggest property tax cut in Texas history,” which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has promised on several occasions.
For a summary of changes, click here.
The legislation will now head back to the Texas House, where they will inevitably seek the appointment of a conference committee—comprised of five lawmakers from the House and five from the Senate—to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions.
Using history as a guide, the conference committee will likely include both the author and sponsor of the legislation, State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R–Friendswood) and State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston), respectively, as well as the subcommittee chairmen of the House Appropriations Committee and workgroup chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee. All are listed below:
|Legislative Chamber||Name||Political Party||2021 Fiscal Index Rating||Career Rating|
|House||Greg Bonnen (Friendswood)||R||54/100||C-|
|House||Jacey Jetton |
|House||Gary VanDeaver |
|House||Armando Walle |
|Senate||Joan Huffman |
|Senate||Chuy Hinojosa |
|Senate||Lois Kolkhorst |
|Senate||Brandon Creighton (Conroe)||R||86/100||B+|
|Senate||Robert Nichols (Jacksonville)||R||71/100||F|
Concerned taxpayers may contact their state lawmaker here.
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