The lengthy process for crafting the 2020-21 state budget officially launched with the recent release of budget instructions to the leaders of Texas public agencies and higher education institutions.
"Those of us wondering about implications for education, health care, and other critical public services should focus on the key parts of the instructions dealing with the General Revenue 'baseline,'" says Eva DeLuna Castro of Invest in Texas.
"The baseline essentially becomes the starting point for legislative budget deliberations in 2019," DeLuna Castro says. "You can think of the baseline like the base price of a new car – especially when it doesn’t include air conditioning, floor mats or other features that drivers want."
Once the 2019 legislative session begins in January, House and Senate budget-writers will determine the amount of federal and constitutionally dedicated funds that state services will receive through the 2020- 2021 budget.
The budget instructions have the most immediate impact on the half of the budget that is paid for with General Revenue taxes, fees, and other sources.