Submitted by Amber Pollei Thu, 27/04/2017 - 12:03pm
Though the upper and lower chambers individual proposals don’t seem all that different from a total spending standpoint, the ways in which they arrived at those numbers varies greatly. The Senate passed a measure to delay payment from the state’s highway fund, while the House agreed to tap into the Rainy Day Fund. The Texas Tribune has created a handy tool to compare both budget proposals here.
Higher education is not immune to vast differences heading into the conference. The Senate has approved a 10 percent cut for UT-Austin. That’s a loss of another $48 million and zero funding for Special Items such as the McDonald Observatory, the Bureau of Economic Geology, or the Marine Science Institute. The House is more realistic, given the increased state divestment in the last few decades. The House proposes a 1 percent deduction for Special Items. Other issues for higher education have strong implications from budget talks too. Notably, we hope the Dell Medical School follows the House’s proposal and is given formula funding as a Health-Related Institution (HRI).
This is a very important process to stay attuned to. We will do our best to send relevant updates as the following conferees kick the process off today:
It is important for UT Advocates to call their members who may sit on this committee and urge them to keep UT-Austin and all it brings to state in mind when crafting the budget. You can find some helpful talking points here.
Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Senator Joan Huffman
Senator Charles Schwertner
Senator Lois Kolkhorst (Article III)
House Appropriations Chairman John Zerwas
Representative Sarah Davis
Representative Larry Gonzales
Representative Oscar Longoria
Representative Trenton Ashby (Article III)