Ellis Passes Major Government Reorganization and Savings Bill
Austin, TX- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) passed Senate Bill 1952 out of the Texas Senate today. SB 1952 is the omnibus Government Reorganization bill. This legislation will save the State of Texas over $315 million dollars over the next biennium.
"This bill is the culmination of hours of hard work and negotiating. This additional savings will help the state to balance its budget and hopefully reduce some of the most painful cuts," said Senator Ellis.
SB 1952 cuts costs through a wide array of efficiency measures aimed at streamlining government. The bill does not include the more controversial measures that were included in the original House Bill 2.
The largest cost savings are achieved by:
- Delaying membership and contributions for new employees into the Employees' and Teachers' Retirement Systems for 90 days, which saves the state $90.9 million in the upcoming biennium (Article 6) (Sunset in 2005)
- Requiring large agencies to employ one human resources staff per 85 employees, and saves the state $14.1 million in the upcoming biennium (Article 7)
- Reducing manager to staff ratios in state agencies will save $8.6 million (Article 8)
- Reducing state office space per employee, to save $11.5 million in General Revenue for the biennium (Article 4)
"I believe strongly that the measures taken in this bill will save money without damaging the integrity of state government or funds," explained Senator Ellis. "Tough fiscal times call for tough measures. The voters of Texas sent us here to trim the fat; This is the budgetary version of quick weight loss."
SB 1952 also contains several revenue generating mechanisms including:
- Ensuring that used car sales taxes are based on the value of the car, which would bring an additional $172 million to GR for the upcoming biennium (Article 10)
- Increasing the licensing fees for Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, Land Surveyors, and Property Tax Consultants, generating $3.6 million in General Revenue for the biennium (Article 2)
SB 1952 also has several streamlining components that were included at the request of Governor Perry.
SB 1952 will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.