The Biennial Budget
There are 41 days left in the 87th Legislative Session. Members have passed significant legislation, including Senate Bill 1, the biennial budget. The Senate unanimously passed the $250 billion 2-year budget on April 6, and the House Appropriations Committee passed its version of Senate Bill 1 last week with only a $750 million difference. Debate on Senate Bill1 is set for April 22, 2021 in the full House. The $250 billion budget does not include or account for the $35 billion in federal coronavirus aid. The budget bill is a 2.6% increase from the prior biennial budget and still leaves the Economic Stabilization Fund, commonly referred to as the “Rainy Day Fund” at a projected $11.6 billion at the end of 2023, from its current $10 billion total. A combination of factors including higher property taxes, less than expected school attendance, and federal funds from the CARES Act freed up almost $5.5 billion to balance the budget and keep the school formula funding increases and property tax reductions enacted last session in place.