AUSTIN, Texas — After putting South Texas at the forefront of critical state budget negotiations as Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa filed for re-election for a sixth term in the Texas Senate.
Senator Hinojosa intends to continue his work for Senate District 20 by providing for an educated and healthy workforce, investing in critical infrastructure, creating jobs, and furthering economic development.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"With the incredible population and economic growth in our South Texas communities, our region is increasingly playing a larger role in shaping our state's future. Although we had a great session benefiting all Texans, we still have issues and challenges that need to be addressed next session. This past midterm election proved that elections have consequences and we must continue to support leaders who have the courage to put people over politics and govern with compassion", said Senator Hinojosa.
"I am honored to serve the people of Senate District 20. I have not stopped working and I will continue fighting to make Texas a better place to live for all our families. Semper Fi", added Hinojosa.
Hinojosa is known for his ability to work across party lines to get things done for our families. He takes a fair and balanced approach to public policy, fights tirelessly for his district and uses his knowledge and experience to navigate the legislative process.
This past session, Hinojosa was again able to play a critical role in securing funding for Senate District 20 priorities including:
- Public Education Funding: We invested an additional $11.5 billion in public education. The minimum per-student amount the state uses to fund schools will increase from $5,180 per student to $6,160. Senate District 20 area school districts will see an increase in funding of over $272 million for the next two years.
- Teacher Pay Raise and Retired Teacher Pensions: Allocated $2 billion to increase compensation for teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses. An additional $1.1 billion will go towards the pension plan, the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), to ensure actuarial soundness. Additional funding was also provided to TRS-Care for health insurance so that our retirees will not see a health insurance premium increase in 2020. Also, provided funding for a much needed one-time 13th check capped at $2,000.
- Property Tax Relief: By increasing the state's share of public school funding from 38% to 45%, school property taxes will be reduced by $5 billion while at the same time capping property taxes at 2.5% for schools. The passage of Senate Bill 2 will help slow the growth of property tax rates by setting a 3.5% trigger for cities and counties, anything above that would have to be approved by the voters.
- Higher Education: Texas A&M Corpus Christi will receive $139 million from the state which is an increase of $8.4 million from the previous session. This includes $2.3 million in first time funding for a much needed civil and industrial engineering program. Del Mar College will receive an increase of $1.2 million and South Texas College an increase of $3.9 million in state funds. The UTRGV School of Medicine will receive $69 million from the state which is an increase of $12 million from the previous session. This includes $2 million in first time funding for the Cervical Dysplasia Cancer Immunology Center.
- Port Infrastructure: $40 million for infrastructure to improve access to and from our Texas Ports.
- Harvey & Flood Control: $3.5 billion to help the Gulf Coast recover and rebuild from Hurricane Harvey and prepare for future disasters. This includes an investment of $990 million to initiate the development of a statewide flood plan, the construction of flood control infrastructure, and critical dam repairs.
- Border Infrastructure and Security: $5 million for the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg to expand an airport hangar for emergency and first responders; $1 million in grants for border zone fire departments; $500,000 for the Texas Transnational Intelligence Center in McAllen; and, operations funding for the Center for Public Safety Excellence from the Governor's Border Security Grants.
- Mental Health: $7.8 billion in total behavioral health spending across 23 state agencies including $100 million for the Texas Child Mental Health Consortium to provide early intervention for students at risk of suicide, substance abuse, or becoming a danger to themselves or others.
- Level 1 Trauma: $17 million to strengthen trauma system infrastructure statewide of which at least $6 million of the funds will go towards ensuring that South Texas has a life-saving Level 1 trauma center in the near future.
- Military Communities: $30 million to help our military communities protect their facilities from closures or reductions. This is critical to Corpus Christi who is home to the Corpus Christi Army Depot, the world's largest military helicopter repair facility that accounts for over 6,000 jobs in the Coastal Bend.
- TWIA: Reformed the Texas Windstorm Association by requiring hurricane damages paid for beyond one year trigger the next level of formula funding. This will help prevent unnecessary rate increases and lead to more reasonable, fair, and affordable rates.
Senator Hinojosa has received the prestigious honor of being named "Top Ten Best Legislators" for Texas Monthly magazine three times and named "Top Ten Legislator" by Capitol Inside three times.
Editor's Note: Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting, and serves on the Senate Committees on Property Tax; Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture; and Select Committee on Texas Ports. Senator Hinojosa is also a member of the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection.
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