PREVIEW OF THE 85TH SESSION OF THE TEXAS STATE LEGISLATURE
With the state and national elections behind us and the New Year around the corner, I wanted to provide you a brief update on the legislative priorities I will be focusing on during the 85th legislative session. But first, I want to thank you for your vote and your continued support. Elisabeth and I recently welcomed our third child, and my oldest just started kindergarten. My children are a constant reminder to me that all of us must work together to insure that you, your children and grandchildren continue to live in the greatest state in the Nation.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of being your State Legislator is visiting with you in my office or at a local service organization meetings, farm bureau meetings, community forum, Co-op Gins or town hall. I am grateful to those of you who answered my questionnaire on the topics you believe to be the most important. I read those questionnaires and your thoughts have helped shaped my legislative agenda. During public events and in my office, I have listened carefully when issues are shared. I am acutely aware that laws and regulations affect each and every one of us, both positively and negatively. I am committed to fighting against over regulation and unfunded mandates that keep our economies from growing. The Legislature must continue to not get in the way of the private sector creating jobs and growing the economy.
KEY ISSUES GOING INTO SESSION
Governor Abbott and both Senate and House Leadership see public education funding, fiscal discipline, support of law enforcement and improving Child Protective Services as key issues going into Session. I look forward to supporting the Governor and Speaker’s legislative efforts to positively affect these issues. Additionally, I am hopeful that the legislature will address TRS-Care reform. Our state’s teachers are one of the most valuable resources we have – and, to that end, financial pitfalls with regards to their retirement funds must be addressed.
Across House District 83, I have heard your voices loud and clear – and your thoughts and concerns have helped me to effectively create legislation concerning the following issues:
- Market based approaches to address Pharmaceutical and Medical Costs;
- Supporting and Strengthening our Second Amendment Freedoms;
- Protecting Farmers from Burdensome Regulation;
- Property Tax Appraisal Reform;
- Continue to Advance State’s Rights and Strengthen the 10th Amendment; and,
- Defend the 1st Amendment and our Religious Liberties
Prior to and during the course of the Legislative session, I will provide you with regular updates on the progress of bills focusing on these issues. Detailed explanations of the bills will be posted on the Burrows4TX website.
THE STATE BUDGET
Going forward into the 85th Session, it is important to recall that the 84th Legislature approved a $209.4 billion biennial budget, which represented an all funds increase of 3.6%. It was a conservative budget, and spending was less than available revenue and less than spending limit; there is an estimated $4.2 billion in general revenue unspent and the Legislature did not access the Rainy Day Fund. A Supplemental Appropriations Bill of $2.1 Billion remains under the spending limit, but only $600 million is undedicated general revenue. The current balance of the State’s Rainy Day fund is approximately $10.4 billion, which was lower than $11.1 billion predicted. The State’s Highway Fund and Rainy Day Fund bear most of lost energy tax revenue. The largest State general revenue fund source is sales taxes, which, unfortunately, are down 2.27% from 2015.
HOW TO CONTACT ME
When the 85th Legislative Session begins in January, I will continue to regularly update you via email newsletters, my Facebook Page and the Burrows4TXwebsite. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Burrow4TX). I welcome your constant feedback and comments. You can email me atDustin.Burrows@house.texas.gov; or telephone my State Capitol Office at (512) 463-0542.