SENATOR HINOJOSA: “NEW STATE BUDGET SHOWS SOUTH TEXAS MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN LEGISLATIVE ARENA”
AUSTIN -- State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said Monday that the new state budget approved this weekend shows that South Texas is making progress toward closing the historical gap in funding for the area’s priorities, including children’s health care, medical research, law enforcement, and higher education.
"This budget is a significant step forward for South Texas and shows that we are making significant progress in the legislative arena," Senator Hinojosa said. "This is what can get done when the area counts on seasoned leaders like Judith Zaffirini of Laredo and Eddie Lucio, Jr. of Brownsville."
Senator Hinojosa spearheaded a top-to-bottom reform of the state’s juvenile justice system, an initiative prompted in part by troubles at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center of the Texas Youth Commission in Edinburg. The initiative calls for $525 million in state spending to correct lax oversight and other shortcomings at the unit and throughout the Texas Youth Commission.
Among other special items targeting South Texas are provisions to restore health insurance benefits to more than 127,000 eligible children of working parents under the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.
In addition, Senator Hinojosa said, the new budget includes $45 million for a new Department of Public Safety Headquarters in McAllen and $1 million for a border security training center in Hidalgo. He also worked to get $2 million to relocate and expand the capacity of the Boeye Reservoir in McAllen.
"McAllen and the region are growing so fast that we need to think ahead about our water supply and plan for the future," Senator Hinojosa said. "This will allow us to move the reservoir away from the McAllen Airport to a more secure location where the reservoir can be expanded and improved."
Other area funding in the new budget includes $10 million for South Texas Hospital in Harlingen, $5 million for the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and Edinburg, and $4.5 million for a DPS office in Rio Grande City.
"The Valley legislation had a very successful session," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "We worked hard and succeeded in passing a very impressive number of bills and bringing home a significant amount of funding for our communities."