Aiming to cover lingering expenses related to Hurricane Harvey and add additional safety measures at schools, state senators on Wednesday approved spending more than $4 billion from the state rainy day fund as part of a stop-gap spending measure.
The supplemental budget measure plugs holes in the current two-year budget cycle, which ends in August, and can include other one-time expenditures.
The Senate proposal, which ultimately will have to be squared with a House counterpart, calls for a supplemental appropriation of $8.4 billion for fiscal 2019 to pay for everything from Harvey-related expenses to a crime lab shortfall at the Department of Public Safety and bolstering the teacher retirement system.
The majority of the money — $4.4 billion — would come out of the rainy day fund.
The rainy day fund was set up in the late 1980s as a management tool to smooth out a volatile source of revenue: oil- and gas-related tax collections.