The House Appropriations Committee adopted the House’s version of the state budget Thursday afternoon. A key discussion revolved around the amount of proposed funding for public education and specifically for teacher salaries.
Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a member of the committee, queried Chairman Greg Bonnen about how a legislator could attempt to increase the current proposal for a (roughly) $5 billion increase in public education spending to $10 billion. Martinez Fischer commented on the need for teacher pay raises, as well as the House’s retiree benefit proposal that would increase TRS contributions paid by active employees. The current House budget does not raise teacher salaries across the board, and divides the increased funding among several priorities, including the Teacher Incentive Allotment.
The practice for budget bills during House floor debate is that if a member proposes an amendment that would cost money, they have to take the money from elsewhere in the budget (i.e., an amendment can not add to the overall cost of the bill). It appears likely that we will see some efforts to direct more funding to schools and teachers when the bill reaches the House floor in the next week or two.
HB 1 was approved on a vote of 23-3-1, with Reps. Martinez Fischer, Bryant, and Jarvis Johnson voting no.