State Budget Negotiations Begin

Every legislative session, in the process of writing a two-year state budget, the Texas Senate and House of Representatives each craft their own version of the spending plan. The work of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate budgets falls to a 10-person conference committee appointed by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. The 2015 Texas Legislature reached that milestone for House Bill 1, this session's budget bill, on April 23.

The Senate version would spend $211.4 billion for the 2016-17 state fiscal years. The House plan totals about $209 billion. But the budgets differ in more than just the totals. Each version allocates more or fewer state (and federal) dollars to various state programs. The job of the conference committee is to come up with one number for each program.

Below are the names and Capitol office phone numbers for the budget conferees from each chamber, along with TMA’s HB 1 priorities.

House Budget Negotiators Senate Budget Negotiators
  • John Otto (R-Dayton), chair
    (512) 463-0570
  • Sylvester Turner (D-Houston)
    (512) 463-0554
  • Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin)
    (512) 463-0508
  • Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock)
    (512) 463-0670
  • Sarah Davis (R-West University Place)
    (512) 463-0389
  • Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), chair
    (512) 463-0112
  • Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
    (512) 463-0120
  • Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown)
    (512) 463-0105
  • Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
    (512) 463-0117
  • Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
    (512) 463-0118
In the House budget, TMA strongly supports: In the Senate budget, TMA strongly supports:
  • $460 million in general revenue funds to restore Medicaid payments to Medicare levels for certain primary care physicians and services. 
  • $20 million to increase the number of women who can be treated via the Expanded Primary Health Care Program.
  • $15 million to expand the state’s autism intervention program.
  • $20 million for surveillance of Ebola and other infectious diseases.
  • $60 million to improve state hospital funding.
  • $14.2 million to maintain tobacco cessation programs (Quitline and tobacco prevention programs for youth and young adults).
  • 14-percent increase in graduate medical education (GME) formula funding to help offset a portion of teaching costs for residency training.
  • $62.9 million to grow and improve GME expansion programs.
  • Funding of GME expansion programs at $75,000 per resident per year for an estimated 125 new GME positions a year.
  • 22-percent increase in GME formula funding.
  • $3 million to restore the Statewide Primary Care Preceptorship Program.
  • $50 million in enhanced funding for women’s preventive health care.
  • $13 million to expand availability of local mental health crisis services.
  • $8 million to increase substance abuse prevention initiatives.
  • $3 million increase to prevent and treat sexually transmitted diseases.

Last Updated On

June 22, 2016