Budget Breakthrough: Lawmakers Reach Deal on State Budget

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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

On Thursday, budget leaders 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.

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