House Takes A Stand On Vouchers
While it took more than 15 hours Thursday for the House to hear hundreds of amendments then pass a $218 billion budget for the next biennium, it only took a couple of hours for one of the more intriguing questions of the 85th Legislature to be settled -- are vouchers dead on arrival in the House? It would appear so as an anti-voucher amendment passed by a large margin, 103-44. A major priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate last week passed a watered-down version of Senate Bill 3, which has yet to be heard in the House. But the margin by which the anti-voucher amendment passed seems to be a signal that House has no stomach for vouchers.

The House's $218 billion total is the same as the Senate's $218 billion budget, but the House would use $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day fund while the Senate's version uses an accounting trick to push $2.5 billion into the next biennium. The House injects $1.6 billion more into public education. The Senate version openly uses $1.8 billion in local property taxes to help fund public education. Differences will be hammered out in a conference committee.

House passes budget after more than 15-hour debate (Texas Tribune)

Analysis: Texas budget writers have the cash, but won't let go of their tricks (Texas Tribune)


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