Investing in the future of Texas: Government performance

Texas 2036 served as a trusted, data-driven resource for the 88th Legislature on issues that matter most for the future of the state. Here’s a look at how we supported government performance legislation.

Key Accomplishments: 88th Legislature

With a historic budget surplus, the 88th Legislature enacted a judicious $321 billion budget that invests in our state’s long-term needs. Texas policymakers leveraged these funds toward strategies that will fuel economic growth, better serve Texas taxpayers and ensure our state remains financially secure into the future.

Backed by a long-term, data-driven approach and a deep understanding of the state budget, Texas 2036 offered essential support to legislative efforts aimed at maximizing the impact of these investments for generations to come. Texas 2036 testified 26 times in legislative appropriations hearings this session, in addition to extensive pre-session budget work, to help provide guidance on how to ensure one-time and continuous investments can promote fiscal sustainability and improved government performance. The resulting budget underscored a judicious stewardship of taxpayer dollars that will underpin a robust and sustainable future for Texas.

Historic Budget: Generational Investments

  • $1.9 billion for increased state employee pay scales over the biennium
  • $900 million for a supplemental lump-sum payment for Employees Retirement System unfunded liabilities over the biennium
  • $931.2 million to eliminate unfunded law enforcement and judicial pension liabilities
Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability:

With a historic budget surplus, the legislature took prudent steps to ensure that a temporary surplus could finance long-term growth. Prudent actions included buying down unfunded pension liabilities, saving the state billions in future interest payments, as well as creation of endowment and revolving funds for higher education and infrastructure.

Modernizing State Data and Technology:

Smart investments in state data and IT capacity can yield long-term savings and improve the efficiency of government operations. This session, budget writers funded strategic investments in upgrading agency technology and data analysis, and lawmakers bolstered efforts to address cybersecurity risks.

Supporting the State Workforce:

A high performing government requires that state agencies employ qualified public servants. After significant turnover, the legislature responded with much-needed pay raises for agency and legislative staff, including targeted pay raises for some of the highest-demand, highest turnover positions. This effort was coupled with benefits reform that included incorporating parental leave for state employees.

Notable Government Performance Legislation

Employees Retirement System of Texas Pension Cleanup: Cleans up and makes technical corrections to the Employees Retirement System pension reform bill from last session. SB 729 Sen. Huffman (R) / Rep. Bonnen (R)

Judicial Retirement System of Texas Pension Reform: Creates a new cash balance retirement plan for new state district and appellate judges, lowering the fund period and stabilizing it long-term. SB 1245 Sen. Huffman (R) / Rep. Bonnen (R)

Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council: Starts an appointed Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council to study and monitor artificial intelligence systems developed, employed or procured by state agencies. HB 2060 Rep. Capriglione (R) /. Sen. Parker (R)

Paid Parental Leave for State Employees: Creates a paid parental leave program for state employees, providing eight weeks of leave for mothers who give birth or four weeks for spouses or parents with a gestational surrogate or adopting a child. SB 222 Sen. Nichols (R) / Rep. Metcalf (R)

Expanded Cybersecurity Incident Reporting: Expands the types of cyberattacks required to be reported to Texas Department of Information Resources and requires local governments to also report these cyberattacks as state agencies currently do. SB 271 Sen. Johnson (D) / Rep. Shaheen (R)

New Chief Information Security Officer: Defines and establishes the position of Chief Information Security Officer at Texas Department of Information Resources, improving agency data infrastructure and ensuring state-held data is protected and private. SB 621 Sen. Parker (R) /. Rep. Capriglione (R)

These bills supported by Texas 2036 have been sent to the Governor pending review and potential signature during the veto period, which lasts until June 18, 2023.