Supplemental budget bill: 3 spending items to consider

Texas 2036 Policy Advisor Rahul Sreenivasan offered written testimony on Monday to the Texas House Committee on Appropriations in favor of Senate Bill 30. He highlighted three spending items within the supplemental appropriations bill being considered.

Here’s his testimony:

For background, Texas 2036 is a non-profit, non-partisan, data driven organization, promoting long-term solutions for the state of Texas as it approaches its bicentennial. We want to draw attention to three specific spending items within the supplemental appropriations bill being considered today by the House Committee on Appropriations.

1. As budget writers grapple with how to pay for tax relief and other investments with recurring costs for future legislatures, one of the best ways to reduce this future burden is by reducing future liabilities. The $1 billion lump sum legacy payment for ERS in SB30 is an example of a fiscally sound choice in this revenue cycle that future legislatures should thank the 88th for. This additional $1 billion payment alone would reduce future interest payments by an estimated $5.5 billion over the next 31 years.

In fact, if the legislature approved a $2 billion lump sum instead, ERS actuaries estimate that Texas would save an estimated $9.5 billion in interest over the same time period.

2. We are pleased with the $100 million allocated for parkland acquisition. This allocation fits under Texas 2036’s priority to support expansion and improvement of state park infrastructure. Texas 2036’s work with Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy showed that “investing in existing and new state parks will generate more jobs and more economic growth while strengthening all areas of the state — especially rural communities.”

Our most recent Texas 2036 poll, indicated 73% of Texans supported investing $1 billion to create and expand our park system.

3. We support the proposed allocation of an additional $400 million for flood mitigation. In service of meeting the state’s growing water needs, Texas 2036 supports state appropriations for water supply, flood control, and infrastructure improvement projects.  Additionally, investments in future water reliability include ensuring water supplies are resilient and protected from extreme weather events.

Thank you, and we look forward to continuing work together with the members of the committee.

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