State Senate, House file base budgets prioritizing Medicaid, education, mental health

State of the State

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas House and Senate have released their base budgets for the 2022-23 biennium. The base budget is a proposal and outlines recommendations for how funds should be allocated during that time period for the state of Texas.

House base budget

The House’s base budget recommends allocating $119.7 billion in general revenue, which is a decrease of 3% when adjusted for population and inflation.

The base budget focuses on maintaining House Bill 3, which was passed last session and reformed school finance. The Foundation School Program is recommended to receive $53 billion in all funds and $41.2 billion in general revenue, an increase of $3.8 billion.

Another $3.1 billion in general revenue is recommended to help fund enrollment growth for schools, and $992 million in general revenue is recommended to be allocated for tax compression. To replace the one-time CARES Act funding provided last year, $1.1 billion in general revenue is recommended.

The Teacher Retirement System is recommended to receive $5.9 billion.

The Texas Medicaid Program is recommended to get $74.2 billion, which includes $27.4 billion for general revenue and $920 million for projected caseload growth.

Meanwhile, $3.3 billion is slated for behavioral and mental health services — an increase of $26 million.

Border security is recommended to be maintained with $800 million in general revenue.

None of the funds tap into Texas’ Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the “Rainy Day Fund.”

Senate base budget

The Senate’s base budget prioritizes education, transportation and mental health services.

Overall, its base budget sets aside $251.2 billion in all funds and $119.7 billion in general revenue.

Funding for the Foundation School Program is included, with $3.1 billion going toward enrollment growth for public education, and $1 billion for property tax compression. Another $5 billion is recommended for payroll growth and reforms to the Teacher Retirement System.

Higher education is also recommended to get $8.1 billion.

A combined $8 billion will be used for mental health services in 24 state agencies, including the the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, which is slated to have an increase of $19.5 million in funds.

More than $1 million would be set aside to create a peer-to-peer counseling network and increase access to mental health providers for Texas law enforcement. Another $145 million will go to continuing community mental health grant programs, and $352.6 million is set aside for women’s health programs.

Going along with women’s health, $7 million is recommended to maintain funding for Maternal Mortality and Morbidity safety initiatives.

For the Texas Department of Transportation, the Senate recommends $30.4 billion, which includes $26.4 billion for highway planning, design, construction and maintenance.

The Senate’s base budget also includes appropriations for safety at the Texas Capitol — $39.1 million will help with additional trooper staffing and more security measures.

Additionally, $1.3 million is set aside for maintenance on the Texas Election Administration Management System, which manages voter registrations in Texas.

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