Financing State Government Assignment

Texas Budget Assignment

Last year, Texas legislators approved a $251 billion biennial budget to fund our state government for the next two years. Amazingly, Greg Abbott did not issue a single line-item veto – the first governor since Allan Shivers in 1955 to sign a budget without a single change.

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Take a look at the Texas Tribune’s budget breakdown:

https://apps.texastribune.org/features/2019/house-senate-texas-budgets-2020/
(Links to an external site.)

and Texas Tribune’s article about the passage of the bill:

https://www.texastribune.org/2019/05/26/texas-budget-house-senate-2019/
(Links to an external site.)

For this assignment, you are now a state representative serving on the House Appropriations Committee, which is the budget-writing committee chaired until this year by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), an anesthesiologist who is retiring this year after 12 years in the House of Representatives. For this assignment, you represent the district where you live, wherever that is. What do you think your constituents want in a state budget? Are they more worried about public education? Higher Education? Health care? Highways? Crime? Are they more worried about keeping their taxes down? Without trying to write an entire budget, explain in our standard 2 – 5 page essay what spending priorities would be important to you and why. For what changes would you advocate?

Note: (This is the important part) Texas is required by its Constitution to have a balanced budget, so if you argue in your essay for a $50 million increase in a program that’s important to your district, make sure you tell where you would either cut $50 million from another program, or how you would raise $50 million in additional revenue.

Submit in Word. Cite your sources.

Additional Resources

How do I know which state representative district I’m in? Click here: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home
(Links to an external site.)
(Remember, your state representative district is not your congressional district.)

Budget 101, from the Senate Research Center, will tell you WAY more than you need to know about how the state budget is written (but you might want to use it to look something up): https://senate.texas.gov/_assets/srcpub/85th_Budget_101.pdf
(Links to an external site.)

The House Research Organization has a document that takes you through the House version in plain language (more or less): https://hro.house.texas.gov/pdf/focus/2019CSHB_1.pdf

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