House, Senate release base budget proposals | TCTA
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House, Senate release base budget proposals

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The Texas House and Senate each filed their version of the state’s base budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1, filed by Rep. Greg Bonnen and Sen. Joan Huffman, respectively, are well over 1,000 pages each, and TCTA will be reviewing them over the coming days for items affecting teachers. Summaries of the bills provided by the Legislative Budget Board include the following:

  • Both bills increase state aid to districts and charter schools by $9.8 billion over the current (2022-23) biennium.
  • Property tax relief proposals would cost $15 billion; the Senate version specifically includes an increase in the homestead exemption from the current $40,000 to $70,000, a priority noted by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.
  • Neither bill specifically provides for funding for a teacher salary increase, enhancements to state funding for health insurance, or a cost-of-living increase for school retirees. (This does not mean that such proposals will not be addressed this session, only that they are not included in this initial draft of the budget.) Each bill includes a Rider #82 expressing legislative intent regarding salaries. Though the specific language is different, both versions refer to legislative intent regarding increased funding for districts and charter schools that could include funding for increased compensation and benefits for classroom teachers and funding for the Teacher Incentive Allotment.
  • HB 1 and SB 1 both increase funding to TRS to pay for the final step in the state’s increases to pension fund contributions, which will reach 8.25% of payroll in the fall of 2023.
  • Both bills also include $600 million to help school districts implement school safety initiatives.

This article from the Texas Tribune notes that the proposals leave more than $50 billion on the table.