With the Texas Legislature having adjourned after the 140-day session, State Representative Richard Peña Raymond is pleased to announce the passage of a number of priorities. “The legislative session was a great success. We put more money into schools and increased teacher pay with unprecedented school finance reform, we reigned in growing property taxes and provided property tax relief across the board, we focused on increasing school safety, and we took care of our retired teachers,” Raymond said.
A package of major bills including the budget bills, school finance reform and property tax reform and relief were passed by significant margins in both the House and Senate and have been sent to the Governor’s desk for final approval.
Major provisions of these bills include:
- $4.5 billion in new money for public education along with $2 billion for increased teacher compensation
- school finance reform improving student achievement and educator development
- $5 billion for real property tax relief
- significant reforms to the property tax system that will make it easier for taxpayers to participate and slow the growth of runaway property taxes
In addition to these headline bills the legislature also passed a package of bills increasing school safety and improving the identification and treatment of children’s mental health issues. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey the legislature prioritized funding for flood infrastructure to mitigate future damage from natural disasters.
Another major priority for Rep. Raymond and the Texas legislature was the Teacher Retirement System. Funds were appropriated and legislation was passed to ensure the stability and solvency of the System and to protect retired teachers by ensuring their health insurance premiums will not increase. Retired teachers will also see a supplemental annuity payment or “13th check” averaging $2,000.