The Texas House recently approved a $302.6 billion Texas state budget, which would fund state spending for the next two years. The Texas state budget proposal involves funding for crucial aspects such as public education, higher education, state infrastructure, border security, and property tax reduction. However, the plan did not receive support for expanding access to Medicaid, and a ban on state funds going to private school vouchers was also enacted, Texas Tribune reported.
Texas State Budget
While the Texas state budget plan includes nearly $20 billion in new spending, there was an unsuccessful attempt to raise teachers’ salaries from about $3,800 per teacher to $10,000 over the next two years. Republicans said their vote against the amendment was not a vote against teachers, and they reminded that teachers pay property taxes as well and that they are looking for some relief.
One of the significant points of contention was the language in the bill that bans funding from schools that use diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. This drew Black, brown, and white Democrats to make impassioned speeches in favor of diversity. The lawmakers’ clash over this language reflects the ongoing debate in the US over critical race theory and its role in schools.
Another point of contention was the ban on state funds going to private school vouchers. This was a blow to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has been pushing for these vouchers for years. However, the House’s 86-52 vote on the amendment signaled an uphill battle for the effort in the House.
Public Education in Texas
Despite the setbacks, the Texas state budget plan is significant for public education, as it includes $5 billion in new money for schools and a pay raise for teachers. The budget also leaves tens of billions of dollars in unspent general revenue available, which can be used for future investments or emergencies.
In conclusion, the Texas House’s approval of the $302.6 billion Texas state budget is a significant milestone, given the investments in critical areas such as public education, infrastructure, and border security. However, the ban on state funds going to private school vouchers and the failure to expand access to Medicaid were blows to Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick. The lawmakers’ clash over diversity, equity, and inclusion practices reflects the ongoing debate in the US, while the failed attempt to raise teachers’ salaries shows that there is still work to be done to improve education in Texas.