April 4, 2011 House Passes budget bill
On Sunday evening the Texas House (finally) passed HB 1, the state budget for the next 2 year budget cycle. HB 1 passed on a near party line vote of 98-39. This is not the final state budget, it is just one more step in a long process. Next HB 1 will go to the Senate for consideration and passage, then it will go a conference committee with each chamber being represented by 5 members each to work out the differences in the two bills. Once a final bill comes out of the conference committee then it goes back to the House and Senate for final approval. Once this happens then it goes to Governor Perry. The Governor can sign the bill, let it pass without his signature, or veto the whole bill.
Texas entered the 82nd legislative session with a shortfall estimated to be approximately $27 billion. Through a series of cuts in the supplemental bill (H.B. 4) and the decision to use $3.1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund (H.B. 275) last Thursday, the remaining shortfall has been lowered to about $24 billion for the coming biennium. This shortfall is related to reduced sales tax collections during recession years, but that is not the sole contributing factor.
The Texas A&M System Agencies include the Texas Forest Service, Texas Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, and Texas Engineering Extension Service.
Each of these agencies had their funding formula revised based on the percentage of GR change for the Operations and Instruction formula for GAIs. This resulted in a reduction of 10% of GR funding. The Texas Forest Service, Texas AgriLife Research, and Texas AgriLife Extension Service rely heavily on GR, and will experience significant funding loss.
- Texas Forest Service – Funding: (31%) – ($33,858,020) / FTEs: (19.2%) – (90) (30 million of the reduction is in grant money that is used to provide volunteer fire) departments with training and equipment
- Texas AgriLife Research – Funding: (31%) – ($33,858,020) / FTEs: (19.2%) – (90.0)
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service – Funding: (7.8%) – ($10,785,760) / FTEs: (10%) – (113.9)
The Texas Transportation Institute, Texas Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Texas Engineering Extension Service, Texas Engineering Experiment Station are primarily funded by non-GR sources, including service fees and federal grants. Because they are not as heavily GR dependent as the other agencies, they are experiencing a much smaller revenue loss and will be able to maintain services at or very near current levels.
Federally, the House Appropriations Committee, H.R. 1 will cut $29.82 million from Smith-Lever 3(b)-(c) base formula funds that were previously budgeted for the national Cooperative Extension System.
Tags: Wichita County