Texas House approves 2-year budget

by
April 5, 2011

By APRIL CASTRO, Businessweek

AUSTIN, TEXAS

The Texas House approved a bare-bones state budget late Sunday, making massive cuts to public education and health care programs for the poor, but promising to keep working to improve the $164.5 billion spending package.

The House plan for 2012-13 was approved by a 98-49 vote, largely along party lines. Democrats and two Republicans voted against it.

The budget underfunds schools by almost $8 billion less than state law requires be spent. Medicaid is underfunded by more than $4 billion.

It makes cuts to highways, prisons, state parks and dozens of other programs.

In all, the budget proposal spends $164.5 billion over the next two years in state and federal dollars. That’s about $23 billion less than what is in the current budget. Republican leaders, in firm control of the Legislature, are vowing to balance the budget without raising new taxes.

Before the vote, Democrats rose to speak in opposition to the bill.

“I believe we will rue the day that we took many of the actions that we took in House Bill 1 and we will feel the ill effects of the dismantling of our infrastructure, I believe, for years to come,” said Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Desoto.

Only one Republican, the lead House budget writer, spoke in favor of the bill. Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who sponsored the legislation, acknowledged the plan “is not perfect,” but promised to keep working to make it better.

Republican Speaker Joe Straus also said work on the budget would continue.

To read more, visit: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MCKJ6G2.htm

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