HOUSE HOLDS THE LINE ON BUDGET SPENDING

The Texas House wrapped up more than three days of debate on the state budget Sunday night by adopting a spending bill (House Bill 1 – the general appropriations bill for the 2012-2013 biennium) that looks similar to the one that was voted out of the House Committee on Appropriations.  It still includes provisions that would reduce funding for the city share of the mixed beverage sales tax, library and parks grants, and the major events trust fund.  Although amendments to restore funding for libraries and local parks were considered, the House rejected those measures.

The House did adopt an amendment to H.B. 1 that would prevent a variety of state agencies from increasing fees without specific legislative approval.  House Bill 1 included approximately $100 million in fee increases, but an amendment converted those fees to contingency riders (which would require separate legislative approval).  A previous edition of the Legislative Update reported on fee increases in several bills that would affect cities including, among others, House Bills 3414, 3415, 3435, 3523, 3657, 3659, 3677, and 3790, and Senate Bill 1811.

Prior to considering H.B. 1, the House took up budget measures to alleviate the deficit in the current biennium.  The House began its deliberations last week by considering House Bill 4, which makes adjustments to appropriations to various state agencies for the remainder of the 2010-2011 biennium.  H.B. 4 would reduce appropriations to state agencies by approximately $1.13 billion.

The House also passed House Bill 275, which appropriated $3.12 billion from the economic stabilization fund to cover the existing revenue deficit for the current biennium.

All three bills now move on to the Senate for consideration.


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