Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs $250 billion budget with no line-item vetoes

Texas Tribune News

Gov. Greg Abbott today signed the state’s roughly $250 billion budget into law.
Gov. Greg Abbott today signed the state’s roughly $250 billion budget into law.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s roughly $250 billion budget Saturday, bringing a session-long effort to address the Legislature’s top priorities — school funding and property taxes — to a close.

A spokesman for Abbott confirmed that the governor signed the budget without issuing a single line-item veto, a mechanism that allows him to shrink the budget where he sees fit.

The 2020-21 budget, which state lawmakers approved in May, includes a significant boost in spending compared with two years ago. Lawmakers had billions of dollars more to spend thanks to a positive economic forecast and revised revenue estimates from oil and natural gas production taxes. Total spending is up 16% from the budget the Legislature approved in 2017.

Much of that extra money went to state leadership’s two two legislative priorities for 2019. Abbott has already approved a $11.6 billion school finance package that doled out $6.5 billion in new schools spending and $5.1 billion to buy down Texans’ property tax bills. In total, the state budget spends $94.5 billion on education, which includes funding for public schools and universities. Not including tax break funds, the Legislative Budget Board calculates that the education portion of the budget grew 10%.

Other portions of the budget didn’t see as much growth. The $84 billion for health and human services programs is up just 1% from the last two-year cycle, and Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled, is facing a $900 million cut.

For the 2020-21 budget, lawmakers didn’t use money from the state’s savings account, known as the Economic Stabilization Fund or “rainy day” fund. Instead, they authorized an unprecedented $6.1 billion withdrawal from the fund that can be used in a “supplemental” budget that covers unpaid bills from the last budget cycle. That money will go toward Hurricane Harvey recovery funds for school districts, future disaster preparedness and leftover Medicaid expenses, among other uses.

After the 2017 legislative session, Abbott signed off on the Legislature’s $217 billion budget but vetoed $120 million in funding for various programs, like funds for impoverished communities on the Mexico-Texas border, and the Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance Program, which attempted to cut down the state’s emission levels.

Also Saturday, Abbott vetoed dozens of bills that had passed the Legislature. Those follow seven vetoes that he had made earlier.

Here’s a look at the bills that Abbott vetoed Saturday:

HB 51 — Relating to the creation and promulgation of certain standard forms for statewide use in criminal actions.

HB 70 — Relating to a strategic plan goal by the Department of Agriculture to prevent crop diseases and plant pests in this state.

HB 93 — Relating to the inclusion of a magistrate’s name on certain signed orders.

HB 109 — Relating to the operation of open-enrollment charter schools on Memorial Day.

HB 345 — Relating to the automatic issuance of a personal identification certificate to a person 60 years of age or older whose driver’s license has been surrendered or revoked.

HB 389 — Relating to the regulation of game rooms in certain Relating to a biennial report on stormwater infrastructure in this state.

HB 448 — Relating to the creation of an offense for failing to secure certain children in a rear-facing child passenger safety seat system.

HB 455 — Relating to policies on the recess period in public schools.

HB 463 — Relating to reciprocity agreements between certain air ambulance companies operating a subscription program.

HB 651 — Relating to the creation and operations of health care provider participation programs in counties not served by a hospital district or a public hospital.

HB 929 — Relating to the duties of a magistrate to inform an arrested person of consequences of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

HB 994 — Relating to appeals to justice courts of certain ad valorem tax determinations.

HB 1031 — Relating to the regulation of game rooms in certain counties.

HB 1053 — Relating to the administration, powers, and duties of certain navigation districts; authorizing the imposition of a tax.

HB 1059 — Relating to a biennial report on stormwater infrastructure in this state.

HB 1099 — Relating to peace officers commissioned by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

HB 1120 — Relating to the powers of certain county assistance districts.

HB 1168 — Relating to the offense of possessing a weapon in a secured area of an airport.

HB 1174 — Relating to the authority of certain county assistance districts to provide a grant or loan.

HB 1215 — Relating to the allocation of low income housing tax credits.

HB 1404 — Relating to the regulation of game rooms in certain counties.

HB 1742 — Relating to the mediation of the settlement of certain health benefit claims involving balance billing by out-of-network laboratories.

HB 1771 — Relating to a prohibition on prosecuting or referring to juvenile court certain persons for certain conduct constituting the offense of prostitution and to the provision of services to those persons.

HB 1806 — Relating to the use of water withdrawn from the Edwards Aquifer by certain entities.

HB 2111 — Relating to the period for which a school district’s participation in certain tax increment financing reinvestment zones may be taken into account in determining the total taxable value of property in the school district.

HB 2112 — Relating to salvage motor vehicles, including flood vehicles, and nonrepairable motor vehicles.

HB 2348 — Relating to the prohibition of certain employment discrimination regarding an employee who is a volunteer emergency responder.

HB 2475 — Relating to the indigent status of a person for purposes of the driver responsibility program.

HB 2481 — Relating to the creation and administration of certain specialty court programs; authorizing fees.

HB 2856 — Relating to restrictions under disaster remediation contracts; creating a criminal offense.

HB 3022 — Relating to emergency warning systems operated by municipalities and counties.

HB 3078 — Relating to the review of clemency applications from certain persons who were victims of human trafficking or family violence.

HB 3082 — Relating to investigating and prosecuting the criminal offense of operating an unmanned aircraft over or near certain facilities.

HB 3195 — Relating to juveniles committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the transition of students from alternative education programs to regular classrooms.

HB 3252 — Relating to the posting of certain notices in a primary election.

HB 3490 — Relating to the prosecution and punishment of the criminal offense of harassment; creating a criminal offense.

HB 3511 — Relating to the creation of the Commission on Texas Workforce of the Future.

HB 3648 — Relating to the powers and duties of the office of independent ombudsman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

HB 3910 — Relating to the establishment of one or more supplemental county civil service commissions in certain counties.

HB 4703 — Relating to the creation of the Harris County Improvement District No. 28; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.

SB 390 — Relating to the creation of the Northeast Houston Redevelopment District; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments or fees.

SB 550 — Relating to the eligibility of certain criminal defendants for an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information.

SB 667 — Relating to probate and guardianship matters and certain procedures for persons who are incapacitated or have a mental illness.

SB 815 — Relating to the creation and preservation of certain records of criminal proceedings.

SB 1319 — Relating to certain taxes and to an annual report submitted to the comptroller concerning those taxes.

SB 1575 — Relating to governmental immunity for and adjudication of claims arising from a local governmental entity’s disaster recovery contract.

SB 1793 — Relating to purchasing and contracting by governmental entities; authorizing fees.

SB 1861 — Relating to certain public facilities financed, owned, and operated by a public facility corporation.

SB 2456 — Relating to the powers and duties of the Karis Municipal Management District of Tarrant County; changing the territory of the district; providing a civil penalty; providing authority to issue bonds.