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Departments Requesting Tens of Billions of Dollars

The Texas Department of Information Resources is among the agencies seeking additional budget funds for IT needs.

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An October update from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to the Texas House of Representatives Appropriations Committee indicated that some $50.6 billion in “exceptional items” is requested by agencies that receive at least $40 million in biennial appropriations.

“Agencies may request funding above the base level in their legislative appropriations requests (LARs),” according to LBB instructions issued in June. “These requests are referred to as ‘exceptional items.’ Each ... should identify the enhanced services or increased effectiveness of agency operations that would result from receiving the request.”

The LBB, one of the agencies to which all state agency budget planning is submitted, has published a report on 2024-2025 exceptional items requests.

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), among the agencies requesting these funds, is asking for additional full-time employees alongside technology platforms and projects.

  • 39 full-time employees (FTEs), $7.5 million: According to the request justification: “DIR’s duties have increased over the years without sufficient additional FTEs to address workload. Since 2013, DIR’s FTE count remained relatively static. Conversely, for the past decade, the Legislature significantly expanded the responsibilities and programs managed by DIR.”
  • Regional Security Operations Centers, $11 million: DIR would like to open two more RSOCs after launching the first earlier this year.
  • E-Procurement, $3.9 million: “The current procurement system was not developed to support modern contracting needs and lacks the scalability necessary to support customer demand.”
  • Vendor Sales Reporting Portal (VSR), cost not listed: “This project to modernize the VSR is critical because the portal, which is how all sales reporting is collected, is currently a legacy application, is over 14 years old with the last update seven years ago.”
  • Security Log Retention, $2 million: “Extending our log retention improves our ability to investigate APT (advanced persistent threat) activity and therefore protect our networks from nation/state actors.”

The LBB’s report doesn't include smaller agencies but noted these request totals:

  • $1.7 billion in technology 
  • $1.9 billion in staffing and payroll 
  • $4.5 billion in capital projects 

The Appropriations Committee heard testimony from multiple agencies over the past months. The 27-member Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over:

  • All bills and resolutions appropriating money from the state treasury. 
  • All bills and resolutions containing provisions resulting in automatic allocation of funds from the state treasury. 
  • All bills and resolutions diverting funds from the state treasury or preventing funds from going in that otherwise would be placed in the state treasury. 
  • All matters pertaining to claims and accounts filed with the Legislature against the state unless jurisdiction over those bills and resolutions is specifically granted by these rules to some other standing committee. 
  • The Appropriations Committee may comment upon any bill or resolution containing a provision resulting in an automatic allocation of funds. 
Rae D. DeShong is a Dallas-based e.Republic staff writer and has worked at The Dallas Morning News and as a community college administrator.