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Thanks to the wisdom of past Texas leaders, our state constitution requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget every two years. While this constraint means that we must make tough choices on which programs to fund, it ultimately forces us to be good stewards of the state’s resources. In Texas, we don’t have the option of putting off necessary, difficult budget decisions by borrowing more money. The US Congress could certainly benefit from such a requirement, but that’s another story.
As we progress further into the 87th Legislative Session, we begin the process of creating and approving the state’s budget for the next two years. This edition of our weekly newsletter will provide an overview of the budget-building process, including a step-by-step explainer of how the budget works its way through the Legislature.
The process begins with the Comptroller’s Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE). Essentially, this estimate lets the Legislature know how much money we have available to spend. While early projections from months ago appeared bleak due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the current estimate paints a picture that is much less grim.
Following the Comptroller’s report, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) released their budgetary recommendations. This 1,000 page document will act as the starting point for our discussions. You can view the entire document here.
With the Biennial Revenue Estimate and the Legislative Budget Board’s recommendations in hand, the Legislature can now begin to draft, debate, and approve the final budget. This process can be lengthy and confusing, but will hopefully conclude with a budget that puts the needs of Texans first without raising taxes. Below, you can find a more in-depth breakdown of what to expect as the Legislature creates the budget.
May God bless you and your family,
James B. Frank