Budget Snagged on String Attached to Final $200 Million in School Aid

San Antonio AllianceUncategorized

Wednesday night the Texas Senate passed a supplemental spending bill with $200 million in additional aid to school districts for 2014-2015, but it turns out there is a significant string attached. Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), Senate sponsor of the bill (HB 1025), made the $200 million dependent on passage of another bill containing $631 million in refunds to businesses of taxes they paid into a special state fund earmarked to assist low-income families with electric bills. The rebate is a priority for Williams, but the low-income assistance is a priority for House members like Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), who says this precondition was never part of the House deal with Williams to support $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for water projects in exchange for extra education dollars. If the matter cannot be resolved, the two-thirds majority in the House needed to tap the Rainy Day Fund could be in jeopardy, and the whole House-Senate budget deal could unravel. We’ll report on the next episode of this cliffhanger in Friday’s Hotline.