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State Budget

Basics

The Texas Legislature is tasked with drafting and passing the state budget each session. The budget is the only piece of legislation that is constitutionally mandated to pass. It is the most important piece of legislation because it outlines how the state will fund all other bills passed each session.

With special interests, state agencies, and advocates all fighting to influence budget decisions, the process of drafting the budget bill can be a contentious juggling act. As people of...

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The Texas Legislature is tasked with drafting and passing the state budget each session. The budget is the only piece of legislation that is constitutionally mandated to pass. It is the most important piece of legislation because it outlines how the state will fund all other bills passed each session.

With special interests, state agencies, and advocates all fighting to influence budget decisions, the process of drafting the budget bill can be a contentious juggling act. As people of faith, we call for a balanced budget that prioritizes people-- especially people in need-- over special interests. People of faith should ask three questions about the state budget. First, are we spending enough to meet our commitments; second, are we collecting enough revenue to support our spending; and third, are we collecting it in a fair way?

Texas has a two-year budget cycle (called a 'biennium') that begins on September 1st of every even-numbered year. When the Texas Legislature convenes every two years, its primary responsibility is to set the state’s budget for the following biennium. In fact, the budget is the only piece of legislation that lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass. If they fail to adopt a budget during their regular 140-day legislative session or if the Governor vetoes the budget as passed, the Legislature must meet in “special session” until it can pass a budget that the Governor will sign. The simple fact of the budget’s constitutional pre-eminence gestures toward an equally simple fact of human existence: we live in a world of limited resources. The ways in which we divide and use our resources are at the heart of our character as individuals and as a community.

On July 19, the House Committee on Appropriations held an interim hearing to discuss interim charge 16, to "Evaluate the effectiveness of the Department of Public Safety’s use of funds appropriated during the 84th legislative session for border security operations.

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The budget is central to state government and a reflection of our priorities as a state. It determines how we will spend our money and which agencies, special interests and groups of citizens will benefit. In fact, the General Appropriations bill is only piece of legislation that is constitutionally mandated to pass. But how does the budget actually get written?

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