Texas lawmakers will have an unprecedented $27 billion budget surplus when they return to Austin in January, bolstering the prospects for TCTA’s work to increase teacher pay, reduce health insurance costs and fully fund public education.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar playfully cautioned lawmakers to sit down before reading his much-anticipated revenue update because the surplus would be staggering. He attributed the strong revenue numbers to high inflation and record oil and gas production. The state’s rainy day fund, which is fed by oil and gas production taxes, is also expected to have about $13.7 billion.
For the current two-year budget, the state will have $149 billion available for general-purpose spending, which includes public education. That amount is almost 27% more than in the previous budget.
The race is on to determine how the Legislature will use that money. Property tax cuts, broadband infrastructure and school safety are all part of the discussion. And TCTA will ensure that the needs of teachers are in the mix, as well.
“Our public school teachers have given so much of themselves to help children grow and learn during an extraordinarily difficult time,” TCTA Executive Director Ann Fickel said. “If Texas leaders want to keep these dedicated educators in the classroom, teacher needs must be front and center in this session’s budget discussions.”