Leaders: Agreement On $80.6 B Texas Budget Reached


AUSTIN (AP) – Negotiators reached an agreement on a two-year $80.6 billion Texas state budget that makes billions in cuts and will likely result in massive state layoffs, legislative leaders announced Friday.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, who had been in marathon negotiating sessions, did not release details of the final plan.

Lawmakers have been grappling with a multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall. Republican leaders have vowed not to raise taxes and want to limit how much they spend from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, projected to have a balance of almost $10 billion.

Instead, they’ve made massive cuts to all levels of state government, including public schools and health care for the disabled, elderly and poor.

Dewhurst said the plan protects taxpayers and makes a “historic $15 billion cut in government spending.”

The plan still has to be printed and go back to both chambers for final approval.

The Legislature is constitutionally obligated to adopt the two-year state budget, which funds public schools, highways, courts, prisons and numerous other state programs.

“The agreement that we reached with the Senate today funds nursing homes, our public schools and universities, and provides financial aid for college students while keeping substantial revenue in reserves and avoiding any new taxes,” Straus said.

The two sides had been deadlocked on a revenue measure that budget writers said was vital to passing a balanced budget. The so-called fiscal matters bill had stalled in the House after lawmakers pre-filed hundreds of contentious amendments that endangered the bill’s passage. The House moved forward on the measure late Friday after many of the amendments were withdrawn.

A day earlier, budget leaders and aides said they had agreed on funding levels for public school operations and come closer on spending for higher education, one of the last sticking points.

House negotiators agreed to spend $4 billion more on public schools than originally proposed by the House, but the agreement still means schools will be short $4 billion owed to them under current funding laws and will likely result in the loss of tens of thousands of school jobs.

Accompanying legislation that would determine how the state would distribute that money was being considered by the Senate.

Education groups have warned the proposed House cuts could lead to tens of thousands of job losses for public school workers, including teachers.

“It’s easy to get bogged down in the political process and forget that there are real children and families who are affected by our decisions,” Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, an Austin Democrat, said to his colleagues as he introduced an eight-year-old with cerebral palsy who depends on Medicaid funding for therapies that allow him to sit up, talk and walk without being institutionalized.

“I feel strongly that we need to look the Texans who are affected by the budget in the eye.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. Texas Technoman says:

    The GOP is all about jobs….but I guess that doesn’t mean more jobs, mostly less…..now that the budget is done Gov. Good Hair can get out of Dodge and run for president………bye.

  2. darrell says:

    dont even get me started on how the state budget ended up in the shape its in. lets just say it walked in across the border.

  3. Richard says:

    How about reducing the number of State Representatives and Senators?

  4. George Ritz says:

    Why don’t we follow North Dakota’s example and establish a state bank?

  5. jeff castell says:

    why dont they calculate the total employees in the state and divide the difference from everyone…..noone gets unemployed and people maybe lose a few k a yr

    1. jeffrey castell says:

      you do it on a percentage scale….say they cut every state employee by 2-3% its not a massive cut….but then noone loses thier job….if you would rather get fired then lose 2-3 % of your pay…then you are stupid and the state shouldnt have hired you !!!

  6. Melanie says:

    I have a great way for the state to cut spending and put more money back in the budget. Stop the stupid click it or ticket commercials and the ones for state inspection and registration. Everyone should already know that if they are not up to date on their stickers and if they don’t wear a seatbelt they will get a ticket. Do you know when the campaign for click it or ticket started it cost 7.6 million dollars, that was several years ago and I’m sure it’s that or more each year. So stop wasting those dollars and keep jobs and then perhaps you might even be able to give raises to deserving folks. Oh yeah the drunk driving commercials also, people know its against the law to drink and drive. This is wasteful, the people who are gonna drive drunk aren’t gonna stop just because of these commercials, same thing with the seat belts and stickers!

  7. John Langley says:

    I feel sorry for all you that voted for this idiot back in office. We will be in 47th place or lower in 2 years due to this cut back. When there’s money sitting in that nice little account that they WONT TOUCH……… Oh and no way will we raise home owner taxes to help the budget… Answer this brain…. how are you going to MAKE MORE MONEY to again pay the teachers we will need. You are a IDIOT… He’s killing us…. He’s doing all he can do to keep his pay check.. He will retire a millionaire….. and laugh as he walks away. If you cut one more teacher……. you should be removed and someone with a real brain should take your spot like maybe that 14 year old girl that is losing her teacher…. She has more brains than you’ll ever have….

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