State Budgets 2012: Texas



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: September 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Biennial
  • Legislative Session for 2012: No regular session in 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Biennial (for example, FY 2012 & 2013)

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


3/23/12: Texas budget battle is looming on the horizon (2013)

The first salvo in the next budget battle for Texas budget was fired on Tuesday, March 20 when a coalition of conservative organizations, including the San Antonio Tea Party, held a press conference in Austin.

The coalition pointed out that state spending had grown 310 percent between 1990 and 2012, with additional demands of $4 billion in 2013 and $10 billion in 2014-15.

Read more: Sequin Gazette

3/9/12: Perry vows to keep women's health program open

The state will find the cash to continue a women's health program whose federal funding is threatened because of a decision to keep Planned Parenthood from participating, Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday.

“We're going to fund this program,” Perry told reporters after an unrelated state GOP event. “Listen, we'll find the money. The state is committed to this program. ... This program is not going away.”

Perry didn't specify where the state would get the money for the Medicaid Women's Health Program, which provides health screenings and contraceptive services to low-income women.

Read more:

2/21/12 Texas economy better, but state budget still short
The Texas economy is coming back, but the state budget is still in trouble, top budget experts told lawmakers Tuesday.
John O'Brien, director of the Legislative Budget Board, said the Legislature did not appropriate enough money to cover state expenses for Medicaid and other programs when it passed the 2012-2013 budget last year. The state is short more than $4.1 billion, most of it in Medicaid.
Read more: CBS Money Watch

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles

Official Budget Documents, 2011:

June 30, 2011: Sine Die Report: What Survived, What Died

It's over.

After 170 days — 140 days in regular session and 30 in special session — Texas lawmakers cleared their desks on Wednesday and prepared for the journey out of Austin. At the beginning of the special session on May 31, Gov. Rick Perry laid out four core issues he wanted lawmakers to resolve: balance the budget for the next two years (including a plan for cutting school funding), reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association's claims process, draw congressional redistricting maps, and rein in the cost of health care.

As the weeks passed, he listened to some of his conservative constituents and added a ban on so-called "sanctuary cities" to the call. In the final week of the session, he surprised many by tossing lawmakers one more political football: the TSA "anti-groping" measure. In the end, lawmakers managed to resolve the first four parts of the agenda (albeit without much Democratic support). But even with a GOP supermajority, they left those last two issues — the most emotionally charged — on the table for a future Legislature.

The Trib's been tracking the key issues throughout the special session. Here's the final rundown ...

Read more: The Texas Tribune

June 30, 2011: Special session ends on sour, bitter note

Weary and frustrated legislators ended 170 days of lawmaking on a low note Wednesday, taking swipes at each other after the death of a high-profile bill ....Wednesday's death of the sanctuary cities bill and a so-called "anti-groping" measure ....

The emotional adjournment of the House, a day after the Senate closed shop, brought an end to the 82nd Legislature tasked with closing a $27 billion budget gap amid ideological and partisan splits, controversial bills and a governor seeking to raise his national profile among Republican voters while exploring a possible presidential run.

Claiming a mandate from the November 2010 elections that left the House with a 101-49 Republican majority, leaders were eager to follow Gov. Rick Perry's demand that the budget be balanced solely through spending cuts and no new taxes. The result was billions of dollars in cuts to public education and social services, as well as accounting maneuvers that delayed structural fixes to soaring Medicaid and school costs.

Read more:

June 24, 2011: Texas Lawmakers Ordered to Agree on Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), or Stay Put

The fate of reform to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association—and the summer plans of lawmakers—may be in the hands of two legislators working privately on a bill on which the state Senate and House can agree.

The Senate on June 22 passed its version of an earlier-accepted House measure to reform the manner in which policyholders file claims and lawsuits against TWIA, the state’s insurer of last resort. A bill to eventually do away with TWIA did not make it to a Senate committee.

Because they could not agree during the regular session, the legislature is working on TWIA in a special legislative session called by Gov. Rick Perry, who has issued a statement warning lawmakers that he’d call another special session if legislation doesn’t reach his desk soon.

Read more: Property Causalty 360 Degrees

June 23, 2011: Amazon sweetens pitch to Texas; now offering 6,000 jobs has sweetened its offer to Texas from 5,000 jobs to 6,000 jobs if the state will grant it a temporary break from collecting sales tax, according to a letter the company sent to Texas lawmakers today.

It looks like the Texas Legislature is likely to say no — at least for now — to’s proposal to bring 5,000 jobs to the state in exchange for a temporary break on collecting sales tax.

State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, said this morning that the odds were slim the deal with Amazon would survive in the legislative conference committee report that would have attached the language to Senate Bill 1.

SB 1 is the fiscal matters bill being debated in the Legislature’s special session, and is a must-pass measure essential to balancing the state’s 2012-13 budget.

Read more:

June 23, 2011: Special session nearly over, work hardly done

The Texas Legislature is limping toward the end of its special session with several key issues unresolved and less than a week to go.

Legislative leaders hope the session's leisurely pace will pick up today. The 30-day session ends Wednesday; the House and Senate remain far apart on the restructuring of the state's windstorm insurance program, and movement has been slow on a measure to ban so-called sanctuary cities.

At the end of the 140-day regular legislative session on May 30, Perry called lawmakers back for a special session primarily to complete two budget-related public school bills that are essential for the 2012-13 budget to balance. House and Senate negotiators have worked out their differences on those must-pass bills, and a final vote in each chamber is expected Monday.

Read more:

June 22, 2011: The Last Seven Days: A Special Session Update

With the special session constitutionally limited to 30 days, lawmakers have just a week left to resolve the bills on the call — and a lot of loose ends to wrap up.

Gov. Rick Perry has sole discretion over the special session agenda — and he's put a variety of topics on it. They include fiscal matters, health care, redistricting, windstorm insurance, sanctuary cities, and a TSA anti-groping bill.

So far, legislators have produced a mixed bag of results. And one major unresolved bill threatens to push the House and Senate into yet another special session.

Read more: Texas Tribune

June 19, 2011: Leaders blame ideology for failure to fix budget

Instead of revamping the business tax structure or taking aim at tax exemptions, lawmakers cut billions of dollars in spending and cobbled together accounting maneuvers and spending delays to meet a massive shortfall and tide them over until 2013. They took a limited amount of money from the state's rainy day fund, but leaders expect to dip into it again in a big way when they return in regular session in 2013.

Legislators also pushed back a looming gap in transportation funding by allowing issuance of the last of voter-approved bonds. They made some cost-saving changes in Medicaid, but will need federal approval to realize more savings.

On school finance, they are working in a special session to pass a bill to allow $4 billion less through the next two years than required under current funding formulas.

Read more: Texas Chronicle

June 10, 2011: House gives early OK to key budget bill

The final pieces of the budget puzzle were falling into place with two key votes by the Texas House early Friday.

But the whole deal nearly fell apart in the wee morning hours as Democrats threatened to topple Senate Bill 1 after 11 hours of debate over an amendment they said was discriminatory to gay and lesbian college students.

SB 1 frees up $3.5 billion to help balance the 2012-13 budget and enacts a $4 billion reduction in school aid.

It was given tentative approval around 2 a.m. Friday on a vote of 81-62.

Last week, a filibuster over education cuts killed the bill’s progenitor and forced legislators back for a special session.

Read more: The Statesman

June 7, 2011: Teachers Take Stance Against Texas Budget Cuts

Texas teachers continue to rally in Austin to bring pressure on lawmakers to reject proposals to slash state funding to public schools.

The senate has also passed a measure to allow districts to increase the number of students in the classroom and let go of teachers quicker.

Lawmakers continue to battle over the "School Finance Bill" in a special session called by Governor Rick Perry. The bill proposes a cut of four billion dollars in funding from public education over the next two years.

Read more: KFOX14

May 30, 2011: Perry calls special session

Texas lawmakers return in a special session Tuesday at the behest of Gov. Rick Perry to deal with a school finance plan blocked by Democrats, Medicaid cost savings and any other issues the GOP governor decides to add to the agenda.

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth forced the special session with her filibuster late Sunday that killed a plan to give school districts $4 billion less than they'd get under current law.

Read more: Houston Chronicle

May 10, 2011: Proposal for waiver on Medicaid advances

Texas would ask for more flexibility to pay for its share of federal health care programs for the poor and disabled under a proposal that has won approval in the state House.

Under the bill approved by the House Tuesday night, the state would ask for a waiver from the requirements of the fast-growing Medicaid program. The legislation envisions a block grant program that would allow the state to spend the money with more flexibility.

Supporters say the bill would create more market-based solutions to health care. Critics say it would remove a key safety net. The bill faces a final procedural hurdle before it can move to the Senate.

Read more: Associated Press

May 4, 2011: Rainy day funds explained: How much money should states have in the bank?

In Texas, which has one of the flushest rainy day funds in the country but also faces a shortfall of up to $27 billion over the next two years,

Governor Rick Perry was initially reluctant to use money from the reserve to shrink the deficit. He hoped to solve the problem entirely with budget cuts. Perry finally agreed with the House of Representatives to withdraw $3.1 billion from the $9.4 billion fund; the state Senate wants to withdraw twice that much.

Both sides in the debate are Republican, but there are few signs that an agreement is at hand. “It has never been the highly charged political issue that it is today,” says Dale Craymer, head of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association in Austin.

Read more: NPR

May 4, 2011: Texas Senate passes state budget that cuts spending

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a budget that makes cuts to education and health care, but not as deep as the cuts in the budget that the Texas House has already approved.

The Republican-dominated Senate voted 19-12 along party lines, which is rare for a budget vote, to approve the $176.5 billion budget for 2012-2013. Texas has a two-year budget cycle.

The budget blueprint approved by the Senate spends $11 billion less than the current budget but $12 billion more than the House proposal.

Neither version adds taxes.

Read more: Reuters

April 28, 2011: Nelson's social programs efficiency bill breezes through Senate

A bill that would squeeze nearly $500 million of savings out of social programs such as Medicaid over the next two years passed the Senate 31-0 Thursday.

The bill by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, makes the needed changes in state law to let social services agencies carry out a host of cost savings senators assume in their two-year budget. Counting both the newly permitted activities, and things the state agencies already may do, such as change the way Medicaid pays for services and further expand its use of managed care, the economies are expected to save the state $3 billion over the next two years.

Read more: Dallas Marning News

April 25, 2011: Texas Senate prepares for budget debate, vote

Later this week the Texas Senate is expected to debate and then vote on a state budget bill for the next two fiscal years, which is about $12 billion more than the bare-bones proposal the House of Representatives voted on April 3. This shows a big divide between the two chambers at a time when the Legislature faces a revenue shortfall of as much as $27 billion.

Read more: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

April 22, 2011: Action delayed on disputed school bill

House members delayed action Thursday on a hotly disputed bill that would authorize school districts to increase elementary class sizes, cut salaries and order teacher furloughs to save money.

Read more: Dallas Morning News

April 14, 2011 At Nursing Homes, Fears of a Budget ‘Armageddon’

The Texas Legislature is faced with a budget challenge that has pitted the Republican majority’s desire to cut government spending against a vulnerable target: nursing homes.

Should the Senate fail to amend House Bill 1, the general appropriations bill for the next biennium, Medicaid reimbursement rates for all providers in Texas would be reduced by 10 percent. Nursing homes would be hit even harder. The industry has crunched the numbers, and state officials confirm they could be short the amount they would need to fully cover provider rates by a total of 33 percent, or $1.2 billion.

Read more: NYTimes

April 14, 2011: Perry stands firm in calling for budget cuts

Gov. Rick Perry Thursday, seeking to allay concerns over proposed cuts to education, called the suggestion that the austere proposed state budget “puts Texas on collision course with disaster is a bad analysis and, frankly, it is false.”

The Texas House last week adopted a proposed state budget that cuts $23 billion from current spending, including a $7.8 billion cut to public education and a $1 billion cut to higher education. Since then, a Texas Senate committee has been searching for “non-tax revenue” to soften the impact of budget cuts.

Read more: My San

April 8, 2011:  In Texas, Furor Over Proposal for Huge State Budget Cuts

When the Texas House passed its budget bill last weekend, the depth of the cutbacks necessary for the Republican majority to stick to its promise of no new taxes became clearer. The bill would slash $23 billion from the current level of state and federal spending over the next two-year budget cycle — a 12.3 percent reduction that does not take into account rising costs to meet the needs of Texas’s growing population.

Read more: NYTimes

March 31, 2011: House closes current budget gap, prepares to take on next

The Republican-dominated Texas House of Representatives patched up the $4 billion hole in the state's current budget with preliminary approval of two bills Thursday that would cut spending and tap the state's rainy day fund. Democrats fought Republicans all the way, hitting them on cuts to programs for children and the elderly.

Read more:

3/24/2011: Analysis of Texas House Budget Divides Lawmakers

Lawmakers offered dueling interpretations Thursday of a Legislative Budget Board analysis predicting that the state could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs if the House's budget bill is passed.

That legislation proposes cutting all state funding by 12.3 percent in the next biennium and reducing state general revenue spending by about $5 billion. The LBB report showed a potential loss of 271,746 jobs in 2012 and 335,244 in 2013.

Read more: Texas Tribune

3/19/2011: In Search of Cuts, Health Officials Question NICU Overuse

State health officials, searching for solutions to Texas’ multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, have set their sights on these neonatal intensive care units. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, under the gun to find savings in the state’s huge Medicaid program, suggested last month that it could save $36.5 million over the next biennium by better managing which babies end up in NICUs, curbing so-called convenience C-sections and refusing to finance elective inductions before the 39th week of pregnancy.

Read more: NYTimes

3/16/11: State leaders agree to use Texas' rainy day fund to close budget gap

Governor Rick Perry, Speaker Straus, and Comptroller Susan Combs said Tuesday that they will use a one-time draw of $3.2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, implement $800 million in cuts and to use $300 million from the last few months increased sales tax collections to close out the 2011 budget gap.

Read more: Dallas Examiner

2/20/11: Texas budget proposals: What's on the chopping block

Selected highlights of some of the proposed budget cuts from the first draft of the state House budget.

Read more: Star Telegram

2/14/11: Cutting Medicaid harder than issuing soundbites, senators learn

Medicaid, a state-federal program, covers poor children, pregnant women, disabled adults and the elderly in nursing homes. Texas’ GOP leaders have proposed cuts of 29 percent, a much larger reduction than most programs would see as lawmakers try to write a balanced budget without raising taxes or exhausting their rainy-day money.

Read more: Dallas News