By Senator Borris Miles
With less than two months remaining in the 86th Legislative Session, your state lawmakers are busy appropriating the funds needed to run our state.
The Texas Senate unanimously approved the $247.7 billion budget for the State of Texas. This budget establishes the state’s priorities for the next two years. Some key highlights of the budget include $4 billion for teacher and librarian raises, $2.7 billion for property tax relief, $2.3 billion for additional state aid to school districts, $35 million more for women’s health, $193 million to address wait times at our driver license offices and much more.
Last session, I secured $11 million for the African-American Male Initiative to help struggling students in disadvantaged communities. This initiative is targeted to help African American male youth who test poorly in roughly every state assessment.
This program is fully off the ground, and I am excited to see how this program will help kids in our community. Funding for this initiative continues in the new budget.
This plan appropriates $33.8 billion on health and human services, which is less than the last budget. The State is prioritizing education for our children, but healthcare and education go together hand-in-hand.
Three out of four enrollees in Texas Medicaid are children. Medicaid helps kids get check-ups, dental care and eyeglasses they need for school.
If our kids are not healthy, they do not succeed in the classroom. Texas needs to expand Medicaid and properly fund key programs to help our kids stay healthy and thrive.
The budget is always about tough choices and I will continue fighting to ensure that we do not short change our citizens.