Last week, the House passed the only bill that we are constitutionally required to pass, the state budget. While the Legislature addresses many important issues each session, the budget is the only legislation that we are required to pass or come back for a special session.

The House continued its commitment to Texas taxpayers by passing a budget that is below the rate of population and inflation growth. This is the measure that shows if government spending is actually growing in light of Texas’ increasing population. The current rate of population and inflation growth is 5.0 percent, while the House budget only grows all spending at 2.4 percent. This reflects that like Texans, the state has to tighten its belt during tough times.

Another commitment that the House made was to continue funding Texas schools at the same rate as last session, while also maintaining property tax relief for Texas property owners. The House budget contains $6 billion in general revenue to maintain the property tax relief that was passed last session. Further, earlier this week, the House passed HB 1525 which cleans up the school finance reform legislation from last session and directs an additional $325 million to Texas schools over the next two years.

Last week, the House also considered several other important measures, including two Sunset bills which I carried. One abolishes the Texas Anatomical Board and the other continues the Brazos River Authority while implementing some governance reforms. We also passed bills to help ease the burden on Texas electricity and natural gas customers as extraordinary costs from February’s storm work their way through the system. These are common sense reforms to help Texans get through these tough times without the sudden shock of high utility bills.

The State Affairs committee continued its work this week, hearing bills ranging from increasing cybersecurity for school districts to asserting Texas’ sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and several measures in between.

It is great to hear from so many of you, letting me know what is important to you. I want to encourage you to reach out to me about issues that concern you or legislation that you would like to see advanced. I can be reached at 512-463-0556 or district9.paddie@house.texas.gov.

In addition, my district director, Joe Buck Crisp, will be spending time each month in every county to meet with you about legislative concerns and to help with issues you may be having with the state government. Please contact our Marshall office at 903-935-1141 if you would like to meet with Joe when he is in your town.

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Rep. Chris Paddie represents Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Sabine and Shelby Counties in the Texas House of Representatives. His weekly Capitol Update column will run during the current Texas Legislature session.