Legislative Accomplishments: A Balanced Budget and Enhancing Border Security

June 25, 2021

This is my ninth and final installment on accomplishments in the recent Texas legislative session that adjourned May 31st.  Much good work has been overlooked.  However, there was also much left undone.  Next week I’ll begin to layout some things I believe the Texas Legislature must accomplish in the special session starting on July 8th and other special sessions expected in early fall. 

A Balanced Budget

Every biennium, the Texas Legislature is required to pass a balanced budget that directs how much the state government can spend in the upcoming fiscal year. Unlike Washington, we are prohibited from spending more revenue than we collect and we are always trying to tighten our belts.  We began this budgeting process in the midst of a pandemic and a cloud of uncertainty, but I’m proud to say we were able to reduce the overall budget by roughly 5% without raising taxes while still funding our commitments to public education, border security efforts and more.  Staying under all constitutional and new statutory spending limits is always a priority. 

Also noteworthy in the budget is $1.2 billion for the biennium we dedicated to enhance border security efforts.  This included more boots on the ground, funds to combat human trafficking, additional funds for DPS border operations and more. 

Enhanced Border Security

In recent weeks it has become crystal clear that Biden administration has blatant disregard for the humanitarian and drug smuggling crisis on our border.  The influx of illegal immigrants, drugs, human trafficking and gang activity is at some of the highest levels we have ever seen.  Unfortunately, since it doesn’t appear the federal government is going to step up and help secure the border, Texas will take the lead to ensure our own safety and security.

Last week, several items were announced on Texas’ plan to build a wall and combat human and drug trafficking at the border.  I fully expect border security to be a focus of our upcoming special sessions.  Below is a summary of what Texas is doing: 

How will we build a border wall? The Governor has directed the Texas Facilities Commission to hire a program manager who will have complete oversight of the project. He will be responsible for the entire planning, construction, and execution of the wall.  He will work to hire contractors, identify state land and private land that can be used, and negotiate how, when, and where the wall will be built.

How much will this cost? Last week, a transfer of $250 million was made as a down payment to get us started.  And, as noted above, the state budget also allocated $1.2 billion toward border security.  Once the program manager is hired and the planning process is underway we will have more definitive numbers.  In the meantime, anyone who wishes to do so can donate by mail to the border wall by clicking HERE

What else are we doing? We have a new task force in place comprised of members from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Military Department, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and more.  They will have bi-weekly meetings to assess the most up to date situation at the border and find solutions.  We have also invoked the Emergency Management Assistance Compact with Arizona to work collaboratively on making arrests, detaining criminals and stopping illegal crossings.  And, lastly, we have issued a disaster declaration committing more resources, law enforcement personnel, and funds to address this crisis than ever before.

President Biden’s egregious inaction and inability to secure our border has opened the door to an overwhelming amount of criminal activity that has threatened the safety and wellbeing of Texans.  But, once again, the Lone Star State has stepped up and made substantial moves to strengthen our border and protect Texans.

 Starting next week, I will be sharing my thoughts on upcoming special sessions and what issues we need to address and what I will be working on and supporting.