AUSTIN - The Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1 late Thursday, April 4. SB 1 is the general appropriations bill for the next two years. 

This budget provides for additional funding while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Total spending increased by approximately 2.1 percent with General Revenue spending increasing by approximately 7 percent. Both of these spending measurements are below estimated growth in population and inflation, and spending falls below the constitutional spending limit and is funded with available revenue. 

This budget provides an additional $2.7 billion for public schools. Institutions of higher education received a three percent formula funding increase on top of enrollment growth.

Correctional officers received a salary adjustment to be more competitive among other law enforcement officers. Also, Parks and Wildlife Department received a $29 million increase in their budget allocations.

The House rejected a budget amendment that proposed the use of public funds for school vouchers.  

"This is a victory for rural schools," said State Representative J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville).  On a bipartisan vote of 103-43, the House approved an amendment precluding the use of state dollars for a private school voucher.  

“The House has traditionally been very hesitant to spend taxpayer money to send kids to private schools, and I think this reflected that long-standing opinion in the House of Representatives,” Public Education Committee Chairman Representative  Jimmie Don Aycock (Killeen) said. 

Sheffield agreed stating "Any funds diverted from public education causes a burden on our school districts. In some cases, the potential loss of revenue to our public schools would mean cutting teachers, programs or closing small rural schools."

Following the action of the House on the SB 1, the measure moves to Conference Committee in the next step toward passage of a final version.