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March 16, 2017      6:11 PM

House beefs up budget through use of supplemental bill

Chair Zerwas says “It’s fundamentally unacceptable, and it doesn’t reflect the values of this state” to take half of teachers pensions to pay for TRS-Care

The House will use its supplemental budget to power many of its major funding decisions this session, including TRS-Care, Medicaid therapy and even cybersecurity.

The supplemental budget can sometimes be something of an afterthought in the budget process. This session, however, the House is betting on a combination of spending in both the supplemental and upcoming budget that will keep Texas under its budget cap, while pulling down maximum federal matching funds and using $2.4 billion out of the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Chair Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, told House Appropriations that the state had tapped the Rainy Day Fund seven times since it was created in 1988. The only time lawmakers used more was in 2011, when a third of the fund, $3.2 billion, was used to close a budget gap.

By Kimberly Reeves

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