Legislative Update From Representative Otto

Written by Larry Crippen. Posted in Local News, News

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Legislative Update From Representative Otto

Published on January 22, 2015 by Larry Crippen

Our state representative John Otto has sent us a legislative update.

The report says they took care of housekeeping items such as re-electing Joe Straus as speaker and adopting their rules of procedure.

On Thursday the House released its initial budget proposal. Representative Otto says the budget calls for keeping spending flat while addressing priorities such as border security, transportation and education.

The budget reflects a 0.2% increase in all funds spending. The House proposal would fund current DPS border security operations through August 2017, which would allow for a strong and continued presence of troopers on our southern border. It ends diversions of the State Highway Fund and uses that money solely for TXDOT operations. In education, the budget would fund enrollment growth in public education, and in higher education it expands graduate medical education to address the critical shortfalls of medical professionals in our state. The proposal maintains expansions in mental health services from the current budget while committing additional dollars to mental health care for veterans.

Otto says responsible budgeting and fiscal transparency are priorities of the Texas House, so he has filed HJR 8 to amend the state constitution to dedicate certain funds for the early retirement of state debt.

HJR 8 provides that when the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) surpasses its constitutional cap, the excess amount shall be deposited into a dedicated general revenue account that shall only be appropriated for the early retirement of state debt.

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