AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan issued this joint statement today following an agreement on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding:
“The Texas House and Senate have come to an agreement on a bold financial package using both ARPA and state dollars to address health issues related to COVID-19, and the financial impact on homeowners, businesses and education. We are also announcing a bold plan to create endowments in the 2023 Texas budget to preserve historic buildings, sites and our state parks for future generations. These endowments will help with maintenance and repair so that our wonderful parks and historic sites remain world-class.
“Features of this agreement are the following:
- $7.2 billion to restore our unemployment insurance which was depleted during 2020.
- $2 billion for COVID-19-related nursing surge.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars for new hospitals and mental health services across Texas.
- $500 million for broadband infrastructure.
- $300 million for a new state operations emergency center.
- $349 million for COVID-19 public safety salary compensation.
- $286 million for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) so that our retired teachers do not see an increase in their health insurance premiums.
- $325 million to fund over $3 billion in higher education, health, science and other projects.
- $95 million for Texas food banks.
- $75 million for rural hospitals.
- $35 million for our veterans homes.
- Over $100 million for sexual assault fund and crime victims’ compensation.
- $180 million for the tourism, travel and hospitality
Property Tax Relief Will Save Homeowners Thousands Over the Lifetime of Their Home.
“Both the Senate and House offered up separate proposals for one-time property tax relief through either compression of tax rates or checks sent directly to homeowners. After further discussion, the two bodies agreed to create perpetual savings by increasing the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for every homeowner, in perpetuity (In 2015, the legislature increased the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000 for the first time in decades). The increase in the homestead exemption will save every homeowner $175 per year over the lifetime of their home, which will total in the thousands in tax savings.
“In addition, $3 billion of ARPA funds will be held for future tax relief that the legislature will study before the 88th Legislative Session. This $3 billion being held in reserve is in addition to the legislature leaving $6 billion in general revenue and projected $12 billion in our rainy day fund.
“We would like to thank Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, and Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, for their diligent work on Senate Bill 1 and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, for their outstanding work on Senate Bill 8.”