Late Friday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the $248.5 billion biennial budget for 2022-2023.
Abbott took to Twitter to call the budget “fiscally conservative”, touting its inclusion of “no new taxes.”
Today I signed a fiscally conservative Texas budget.
It includes no new taxes and a budget surplus of more than $1 billion. pic.twitter.com/pM9LxVwcMP
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 18, 2021
While the budget maintains funds for property tax relief originally approved by the legislature in 2019, it contains no additional relief despite Texans experiencing rising property tax bills.
Most notably, however, was a section Abbott decided to veto—Article X.
Article X is the section of the budget that funds the Legislature, including agencies such as the Legislative Research Library and the Sunset Commission. It also includes pay for Capitol staff.
The fiscal year for the state begins in September, at least one month before the October special session on redistricting that Abbott has said must occur later this year.
In doing so, Abbott made good on a threat he issued shortly after the legislative session adjourned on May 31, when he said he would not restore funding for the legislature until after certain priorities such as election integrity and bail reform were passed in a special session.
While the Legislature meets for 140 days every two years, the governor can call a special session lasting up to 30 days at a time on items he chooses.
“Texans don’t run away from a legislative fight, and they don’t walk away from unfinished business,” Abbott said in a statement shortly after approving the budget. “Funding should not be provided for those who quit their jobs early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session.”
Though Abbott has said at least two special sessions will be required this year, he has so far declined to announce when they will take place.
Some House Democrats, who were enabled to kill election integrity legislation in the final hours of the session last month, have indicated they may decline to appear for a special session, denying the chamber a quorum to pass bills.