This Thursday is “Budget Night” in the Texas House of Representatives. For most sessions, this is the first day on the House Floor where members expect to be working into the early hours. The Texas Budget is broken down into 10 articles, some of which are grouped together for organizational purposes. On “Budget Night,” House members debate and possibly amend the draft spending bill on which the state will operate for the next two years.
Already, the Texas Legislature is receiving praise on the management of the budget and key areas of focus. In its analysis of the draft spending bills, the Texas Public Policy Foundation said “... the Senate’s committee substitute for SB 1 and the House’s committee substitute for SB 1 fall well below the [Conservative Texas Budget] limits in state funds and all funds, and neither appropriate money from the Economic Stabilization Fund. This must be maintained throughout session to better match the average Texas taxpayer’s ability to pay for government spending while leaving more money in the productive private sector to let people prosper.”
Before the members dig into the debate on Thursday, here’s a quick primer on each of the Articles of the Budget and the areas/agencies they fund:
Article I funds General Government, which handles economic regulation and funding for institutions whose purpose is intended for individual and collective consumption, such as the Office of the Attorney General or the Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Note: Articles I, IV, & IV are bundled together in a House Appropriations Subcommittee).
Article IV oversees funding for Texas’ court system. This includes the operation of 16 appellate courts and 73 children’s courts.
Article V is for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, which addresses the breakdown of funding for law enforcement, as well as criminal justice and emergency agencies.
Article VI includes Natural Resources which handles funding for agencies that focus on the conservation on natural resources, environmental quality and water. (Note: Articles VI, VII, & VIII are bundled together in a House Appropriations Subcommittee.)
Article VII is for Business and Economic Development which funds transportation, the workforce commission, as well as housing and community affairs.
Article VIII funds regulatory agencies, including oversight of health-related and non-health-related occupations, securities, and, lastly, appropriations and indirect costs.
Article IX is General Provisions, which covers any funding initiatives not explicitly under the previous article jurisdiction.
Article X, the Legislature, focuses on the funding surrounding the creation of proposed laws and resolutions. (Note: Articles IX & X are managed by the full House Appropriations committee.)
To learn more about the specific funding under each article, visit here. To follow the debate live, go to the House Video-Audio page on Thursday, April 22nd. You can also follow the Texas House Republican Caucus for updates throughout the process.