The process of writing and passing the state budget for 2024-2025 has officially kicked off, with both the Texas House and Senate filing their base budgets to act as the starting point as the legislative session continues.
Passing a balanced budget is one of the only constitutionally mandated tasks of the state Legislature. But while lawmakers faced a budget shortfall in the last legislative session, this session is different with $32.7 billion in surplus cash available.
Both chambers filed their drafts Wednesday afternoon: House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1. The House’s version is authored by State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R–Friendswood), with the Senate’s version being authored by State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston). Both budget drafts clock in at more than 1,000 pages long.
While both versions also spend an unprecedented $130 billion in general revenue, these preliminary versions are a starting point. Comptroller Glenn Hegar told lawmakers last week they could spend up to $188 billion in general revenue during his biennial revenue estimate, meaning each chamber still has more than $50 billion they could allocate.
“Today, Senate Finance Chair Huffman filed SB 1, the Senate’s proposed state budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said upon the budget filing.
“SB 1 keeps our promises to Texans and charts a course for our state’s continued prosperity. Our conservative budgeting principles applied throughout SB 1 make sure that government does not grow faster than population times inflation.”
As the budget is analyzed over the coming days, much attention will be placed on whether the surplus will be returned to taxpayers in the form of significant and meaningful property tax relief. Gov. Greg Abbott himself recently reiterated that the surplus should be “returned to taxpayers” and that lawmakers would deliver “the largest property tax cut in Texas history.”
Over the coming weeks, the budget will be tweaked through the committee process in the House and Senate before being debated on the floor, where members will be able to propose amendments.
The budget drafts can be viewed here: