Governor Greg Abbott has signed and approved the budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. See my statement on its passage below. Clicking the image will take you to a pdf version.
Admittedly, the Legislature's process for writing the budget is not the easiest to follow. That is why I also want you to know about the funding strategies that I personally worked on and managed to get into the final budget:
Funding to maintain national and regional educational partnerships that provide cost-saving resources, such as professional development for teachers and access to accredited post-secondary online courses;
Increased funding for TEXAS Grants, the state's primary higher education financial aid program for students with financial need;
Creation of a state repository for open-education resources to help combat the rising costs of textbooks in higher education;
Increased formula funding for all higher education institutions in Texas;
Increased research funding for all eligible higher education institutions in Texas;
Commission of a study to reevaluate and reconstruct higher education funding formulas to prevent the continued degradation of funding for higher education institutions;
Funding for co-enrollment programs, which seeks to place community college students in four-year universities, such as ACC's Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment (PACE);
Commission of a study to reconstruct the state's higher education grant programs to reduce the state's nursing workforce shortage;
Protection of UT Austin's Darrell K. Royal Alzheimer's Initiative to ensure that it will only fund Alzheimer's research.
Funding and three Full-Time Employees for Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force in the Governor's Office;
Funding for improved crime lab services and salary increases for forensic analysts;
Workforce pipeline for crime labs through partnerships with the University of North Texas and Sam Houston State University;
Creation of best practices to overall statewide efforts to address sexual assault through a state university such as UT Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault;
Statewide audit of sexual assault investigations by the State Auditor's Office;
Funding for grants to Sexual Assault Forensic Exam-Ready facilities to ensure that sexual assault victims receive forensic exams.
Funding to provide healthcare insurance premium assistance to low-income and middle class small business employees in Central Texas;
Increased funding for women's health;
Reduction of the state's waitlist for home and community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities
Restored funding for air quality planning activities to reduce ozone in near non-attainment areas to achieve national standards for air quality throughout Texas, including Austin.
Creation of a statewide public awareness campaign on safe firearm storage, similar to "Click It or Ticket" and "Don't Mess with Texas", in order to prevent fatalities and injuries from inappropriate access to firearms, particularly by children.
Team Howard worked hard this session on behalf of House District 48 and the rest of the state to make investments that can actually make a difference for you and your family. It is always an honor to represent our community at the state legislature, and I look forward to continue working on your behalf over the interim before the next legislative session in 2021.
- Rep. Donna Howard