Budget proposals were issued by both the House and Senate on Monday. These drafts will be the starting point for deliberations in both chambers. The Senate proposed a $186.8 billion budget, a 1.6 percent reduction from the amount the current budget is estimated to grow to in the next budget cycle. General revenue spending makes up $89 billion of the budget, an increase of 1.5 percent from the current budget. The total House budget will be $187.7 billion, a 1.2 percent reduction from the current budget. General revenue spending makes up $89.2 billion, a 2 percent increase from the current budget. The difference in the total amount of the two budgets is a result of a difference in the estimation of growth in Medicaid enrollment. The Senate’s budget is based on August 2013 enrollment levels, while the House’s is based on the August 2015 enrollment levels.
Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) has filed House Bill 515 which would roll back provisions passed in 2011 that require the prepayment of various taxes. No one likes to pay taxes early so this will be a popular bill.
Rep. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) was elected House Republican Caucus Chair.
The Texas House and Senate recessed after Tuesday’s sessions until Wednesday of next week to allow members to attend the presidential inaugural festivities in Washington D.C. The State of the State address will be delivered by Governor Rick Perry to a joint session of the Texas Legislature on January 29th. While committee assignments in the Texas House are expected to take a few more weeks, Lt. Governor Dewhurst announced that he will reveal Senate committee assignments on Friday.