The effects of the 86th Texas Legislative session remain to be seen as the governor signs and approves the bills. One of the most important, the budget, House Bill 1, was signed Saturday. It sets the state’s spending for the next two years.
KCBD spoke to representative Dustin Burrows about what the $250 billion budget means for the South Plains.
“This was a very significant investment in public education,” Burrows said.
Bills signed into law include school finance reform and a bill that increases pay for Texas teachers.
Burrows said, “The schools are going to have more money. We said that a large percentage of it needs to go to pay increases for teachers, and we’re going to let our school boards and superintendents pass that along and make sure that that actually happens.”
Lawmakers also looked at property tax reform, putting $5 billion into property tax relief.
“We spent a lot of time dealing with reform measures,” Burrows said. “I think Texans are tired and frustrated trying to find out who’s raising their taxes and by how much. We brought some transparency measures in, the first time in over 40 years we’ve had a significant property tax reform measure.”
Lawmakers also added funding for Texas Tech’s Veterinary School. The line item for the school was $17.35 million.
“The budget also contains a line item for a Vet School for Texas Tech. We’re very proud of the hard work multiple generations and multiple people have…committed to doing that,” Burrows said.
Burrows said they also talked about health care pricing, expanding I-27 and reforming workers comp for firefighters and their families. The budget also addressed relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey. He said they’re already working on what’s next.
“Then we take the interim to actually study and look at things – property taxes and schools and other issues that we need to come back and make the case to West Texas about things we ought to be doing.”
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