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AUSTIN (AP) – The $4 billion that lawmakers left unspent after their last session two years ago appears to have evaporated.

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Now Texas could be as much as $6 billion short of the money needed just to keep the status quo for the upcoming two-year budget cycle, according to budget experts.

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Republican state Rep. Drew Darby said spending cuts are now certain.

Texas has not been forced to make budget cuts since 2011, when a much bigger shortfall amid the Great Recession resulted in lawmakers cutting $5.4 billion from public schools.

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