Texas state budget: Our top priorities

This is a preview of our Texas 2036 newsletter about the state budget and Legislative Appropriations Requests. To receive this weekly highlight of our work, sign up here.

This summer, we shared a breakdown of Texas’ historic fund balance, including the projected $27 billion of general revenue surplus expected by the end of fiscal year 2023.

With this estimated budget comes a generational opportunity to tackle big projects. Our team has been providing actionable data and analysis to help inform state leaders where to invest these resources. Here’s a look.

Legislative Appropriations Requests 101 💰

Initial Action: Prior to each legislative session, the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s Office of Budget and Policy hold public hearings to help determine funding allocations.

  • State agencies submit Legislative Appropriations Requests, or LARs, starting in July, to ask the Texas Legislature for specific funding needs.
  • In August and September, hearings are held to dive into these requests.
  • After the hearings, budget writers begin drafting the state budget bill.

Texas 2036 Take: These public meetings also provide outside organizations a chance to highlight budget opportunities as elected officials start writing the 2023 budget bill.

Long-Term Impacts Without Long-Term Liabilities 💥

Money Talks: Last month, we testified in support of numerous areas where legislators can prioritize the estimated $27 billion general revenue surplus.

  • Throughout the 16 hearings we engaged in, Texas 2036 focused on high-ROI investments that can improve agency performance, modernize state technology and help the state tackle generational challenges.

Here’s a glimpse at some of our priorities.

💧 Texas Water Development Board: Expanding agency capacity will help the TWDB address state water infrastructure needs, such as water supply development, flood control mitigation and infrastructure repairs.

⚖️ Office of Court Administration: One-time investments in data and IT infrastructure, increasing judicial staff compensation and offering more support for court backlog-related needs would not only address current problems but would set up the judiciary for long-term success.

👨‍🏫 Teacher Retirement System: Reforming plan benefit design could help stem rising costs, improve the value teachers receive from their health benefits and help them stretch their paychecks further, while aiding districts with recruitment and retention.

🏫 Texas Education Agency: Strategic investments in public education include a transition to higher quality curriculum, continued investments in Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative data infrastructure and embedding resources to support schools recovering from academic learning loss.

👩‍🏭 Texas Workforce Commission: To address workforce needs, investments are needed to provide access to pre-apprenticeship career pathways, establish industry recognized apprenticeship programs and improve state labor market data specific to linkages between education/training programs and occupations.

💻 Department of Information Resources: Additional funding will ensure that each state agency has the technology they need to fight off cyber criminals and efficiently provide services to Texans.

🌐 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts: Adding more full-time employees in the Broadband Development Office will help them more efficiently allocate the recent influx of federal broadband funding and speed up implementation of the state’s broadband plan.

Read our full list here.

Next Steps🚶🏽: Show Me the Money

What’s Next: With the next legislative session in Jan. 2023, most of the work between now and then happens as staff and elected officials meet to prepare their proposed budgets. Additional steps include:

  • The House and Senate will draft bills, followed by public hearings held by the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee.
  • The Governor will release a proposed budget before the State of the State address.
  • After a final vote, the budget that eventually passes and is signed into law will take effect on Sept. 1, 2023 and fund government operations through Aug. 31, 2025 (fiscal years 2024 and 2025).

Want to see our Legislative Appropriations Request testimonies?

Find these testimonies and other Texas 2036 documents in our Resource Library at texas2036.org/resources.

It’s your turn!

Texans, what do you think?

Let us know your priorities for state spending.