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Texas Senate Passes Two-Year Budget Bill

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

On a vote of 30-1, the Texas Senate has passed a two-year budget that would spend more than $211 billion dollars on everything from education and healthcare to border security, and would include cuts to property and business taxes. 

The debate didn’t take nearly as long as the 18 hours on the House side, but Democrats did voice their opposition. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), the only member to vote against the budget bill, criticized the $811 million that would go to policing the border.

"My real concern here is that we seem to just have miraculously found so many dollars for border security, it seems like we’re like Don Quixote chasing that wind mill that he never found," Garcia said on the Senate floor.

Other Democrats questioned whether the state is doing enough to expand affordable health insurance to low income Texans, and they asked whether the state was putting enough money into public schools and pre-kindergarten programs, which Gov. Greg Abbott says is a priority.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he was pleased with the bill.

"You all have done a terrific job," he said, followed by applause from most senators. 

Next, the House and Senate budget writers need to agree on their differences before sending a final budget to Gov. Abbott. 

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