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Budget Restores Significant Portions from the 2011 Cuts Pushed by Gov. Perry

AUSTIN — Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, Chairman of the House Human Services Committee, voted for the budget bill, SB 1, which passed unanimously with a 135-12 vote after a 12 hour debate by the full House of Representatives.

The bill increases the overall state budget for state operations to $193.8 billion for the next two-year 2014-2015 biennium, a 2.1% increase from the 2012-2013 biennium .The House also adopted $93.5 billion from the general fund, which invests in public schools, universities, and health care. That is a 7 % increase over the current budget.

“I am very proud that we were able to increase funding for public education by $2.5 billion but I still want to add another $2 billion from the rainy day fund and we will continue to work toward that,” said Rep. Raymond.

Some education investments made through SB 1 are:

  1.  An increase of $2.5 billion for the Public Education.
  2. An increase to 6.6% in the state contribution to the Teachers Retirement System.
  3. All Higher Ed formulas were increased 3%
  4. $115 million additional funding to Texas Grants (student loan program) (18.1% increase to $750 million total)

As Chairman of the House Human Services Committee, Rep. Raymond was pivotal in pushing for additional funding towards the state’s Health and Human Services system, including:

  1. The Health and Human Services budget increased by 6.2% from last year’s budget ($1.7 billion)
  2. Major increases were in Mental Health ($265 million total, $239 into Health and Human Services )
  3. $100 million into primary health program

“With this budget Laredo will be receiving more help for education, health care, transportation  and public safety,” Rep. Raymond said.

Following passage of SB 1 by the Texas House and Senate, the differences in the general appropriations committee reports, if the versions differ, are reconciled via an appointed conference committee. Then each chamber will vote on the conference committee agreement

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