The Texas State Senate: Senate Committee on Finance
Senate Committee on Finance
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The Senate Finance Committee is charged with conducting a thorough and detailed study of the following issues, including state and federal requirements, and preparing recommendations to address problems or issues that are identified.
1. General Budget Oversight. Monitor state agency implementation of House Bill 1 by reviewing key strategies, programs, and rider provisions.
2. Revenue Oversight. Monitor and track the Texas' key revenue sources. Develop recommendations to keep the Legislature apprised of key revenue source activity throughout the duration of this and future fiscal biennia.
Health & Human Services
- Major Health-related Caseload and Cost Estimates. Study the sources of and means by which state agencies track and report on budget-driving caseload and health care cost increases submitted to the Legislature. Make recommendations for improvement, as needed.
- Monitor Implementation of Article II Reorganization. Monitor the budget elements of the Health and Human Services Commission reorganization. Coordinate work with the Legislative Oversight Committee and the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.
- Conduct Comprehensive Data Review of All Programs in Article II. Develop comprehensive tables of information on programs at each agency that convey historical information about method of finance, appropriations, program description, performance highlights, number of FTEs, and date of last audit in a manner that is conducive to the Legislature's decision-making.
- Funding for Homeland Security. Monitor and report on the amount and uses of federal homeland security dollars in Texas appropriated through the Governor's Office and directly to local governments.
Public & Higher Education
- Tuition Deregulation. Study the budgetary impact of legislation to deregulate tuition at institutions of higher education. This study should include, but not be limited to, a review of recent tuition increases authorized by this Act, their impact on affordability of higher education, and an evaluation of the expenditure of these funds.
- Tuition Revenue Bond Authorization. Review recent history and beneficiaries of TRB authorization by previous legislatures. Recommend procedures, criteria and priorities for potential new TRB authorizations and funding sources for the 79th Legislature.
- Nature and Use of Local Funds. Develop a representative sample profile of local funds at various types of agencies and institutions of higher education and report on amounts, revenue sources, expenditures, and how these funds impact the use of General Revenue appropriated in the General Appropriations Act.
- Funding for Higher Education. Study all funding of institutions of higher education in conjunction with the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee. Assess the cost and requirements of increasing the number of Tier 1 universities in Texas. Reexamine current and alternative methods for funding regional universities, health science centers and their reimbursement for the provision of indigent health care, community colleges, and universities.
- Accountability. Study and make recommendations, in conjunction with the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, relating to the development of a statewide accountability system for higher education that is consistent with funding strategies for higher education.
- Public School Finance. Provide support for the Joint Select Committee on the revenue and property tax relief portion of public school finance. Also, examine ad valorem taxation in Texas, focusing on the establishment of growth caps and the impact of caps on local government finances.
Natural Resources & Economic Development
- Fund 006. Review revenue sources into and appropriations out of Fund 006. Review policy decisions by the 78th Legislature that will impact the future of the Fund. Make recommendations for improvement, as needed.
- Enterprise Fund. Monitor and report on current and potential future uses of the Enterprise Fund. Study and develop recommendations for using economic development funds and assessing potential projects, including, but not limited to, establishing criteria for investment, developing standards for cost-benefit analyses, leveraging local participation, and incorporating claw-back provisions if goals are not met.
General Government, Regulatory, & Judiciary
- Review of Fees. Conduct comprehensive review of and report on fees at state regulatory agencies, including historical information on fee amount, expenditures, appropriations, populations affected and general impact to the state budget.
- Revisit Rising Health Care Cost Study of the 77th Legislature. Review the cost study and determine which cost elements of the study have not been controlled and make recommendations to the 79th Legislature to address bringing them under control. Examine the budget impact of policy decisions of the 78th Legislature and make recommendations for improvement.
Criminal Justice & Public Safety
- Adult and Juvenile Correction Populations. Monitor population trends in the adult and juvenile correction facilities and determine if budget decisions made in the 78th Legislature remain viable. Make recommendations for improvement, as necessary.
General Budget and Tax Issues
- Rainy Day Fund. Track the history of appropriations out of and deposits of revenue into the Texas' rainy day fund. Monitor FY 2004-2005 deposits of revenue to the fund. As needed, make recommendations on how to improve revenue sources and the manner in which the fund can be spent.
- Pension Fund Review. Report on the current condition of the state's pension systems, including an analysis of unfunded liabilities. Make recommendations, as necessary, to ensure Texas meets its financial obligations in the future.
- Issuance of State Bonds. Review the role of the Public Finance Authority and the Bond Review Board in the issuance of state bonds, and make recommendations, as necessary, for improvements.
- Budget Certification. Study the budget certification process. Make recommendations on how to improve the process of certifying the state budget by the Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- General Appropriations Act Bill Pattern Review. Review effectiveness of current and past bill patterns, and make recommendations, as necessary, for improvements.
The Committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library. The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.
Senate Committee on Finance Report to the 79th Legislature
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Budget and Staff
Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. All other costs shall be borne by the Senate Finance Committee's interim budget, as approved by the Senate Administration Committee. Due to overall budget constraints, it is recommended each interim committee budget include only critical expenditures and, where possible, reductions from previous spending levels.
The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.
Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.
77th Legislature's Senate Finance Committee .
76th Legislature's Senate Finance Committee .