What Passage of HB 1, The State Budget, Means to Texans

From doomsday predictions to claims of fiscal responsibility, the new state  budget passed by Texas Lawmakers in the House Sunday night is certain to have a huge impact on you and your family.

We already know that school districts around the state are getting substantially less funding, $8 Billion dollars less,  and are being forced to layoff  teachers and make cuts that hurt the classrooms.

Some also fear that nursing homes will also shutdown and there will be massive job losses around the state. 

After the vote on House Bill 1, elected leaders reacted along party lines.  I’m posting the full statements I’ve received so far. Starting first with a statement from republican Governor Rick Perry followed by statements from several Houston democrats.

Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Passage of House Bill 1 

“Today’s action by the House is another step toward achieving fiscal responsibility and ensuring state government lives within its means. House members set priorities for state spending and found savings, and thanks to their leadership, this budget paves the way to help Texas recover from the impacts of the national economic recession.

 “You cannot tax or spend your way to prosperity, and Texans expect their elected leaders to govern under that truth when it comes to taxpayer dollars. I look forward to working with members of the Senate as we continue to move a budget through the legislative process that lays the foundation for a prosperous future while funding our state’s priorities, and preserving the balance of the Rainy Day Fund without raising taxes on families or employers.”

Representative Farrar Takes a Stand Against ‘Job-Killing’ State Budget

AUSTIN, TX–The Texas House of Representatives voted 98 to 49 to approve $27 billion in cuts to public schools, cuts to nursing home and health care services, and cuts to jobs from the state budget over the next two years.  House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) commented that, “Writing a budget in tough economic times is about setting priorities.  In my opinion, the Republicans in control got the priorities all wrong.  Instead of rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard work they were elected to do, the Republican majority in the House voted for a ‘cuts-only’ budget that will cost our state hundreds of thousands of jobs, and devastate public education and nursing home care.”

“Instead of working on real solutions to protect our priorities in the state budget, the Republican majority was more interested in scoring ideological points and partisan politics. 

A recent report by the state’s non-partisan Legislative Budget Board indicated that teacher layoffs and other cuts included the budget would have a ripple effect, eventually costing over 325,000 jobs.

“This fiscal mess and our state’s ongoing structural deficit are result of corporate tax loopholes and Governor Perry’s insistence that the Legislature pass a ‘cuts only’ budget.  That is why House Democrats support a plan protect our state’s important priorities through a mix of smart budget cuts, using the state’s Rainy Day Fund savings account, and closing massive corporate tax loopholes that prevent some big businesses to pay their fair share to fund our schools. 

 “Almost eighty years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt led our country and passed the New Deal — helping to secure the future for generations.  By failing to protect our priorities in this budget, Texas House Republicans will have taken a major step backwards in history,” Representative Farrar concluded.

 Statement from Rep. Coleman on House Bill 1

 Austin–Representative Garnet F. Coleman (D-Houston) released the following statement in response to his vote against House Bill 1: 

I refuse to vote for a budget that will hurt children, harm our elderly, and risk the lives of Texans. In my 20 years as a state legislator, I’ve never seen a budget so devastating.  

The cuts in House Bill 1 are unsustainable and cut into the marrow. Our state may never recover from the cuts to essential state services in this bill, and maybe that’s the design. 

Texas should pass a budget that funds the needs of Texans. All we’ve done today is move around the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.

State Representative Carol Alvarado Votes Against HB 1

 AUSTIN// State Representative Carol Alvarado voted against House Bill 1, the proposed House version of the state budget.  

“HB 1 is not a budget I can support.  The deep cuts seen in the proposal are detrimental to our public education system, our healthcare services and our state.  This proposal will put over 300,000 public and private sector jobs in jeopardy, affect the way we educate our children for years to come, close over 80% of Texas nursing homes,  have disastrous effects to our mental health services, and make it harder for students to pay for higher education on top of already rising tuition rates. ” said Alvarado. 

 “We should not have looked at a cuts-only approach to solving our budget shortfall.  We have a structural deficit that is not going away and although it is understandable that in tough times we all must look at ways to live within our means, we must also look for lasting solutions.  Just like Texas families do in tough times, we should be seeking out all sensible solutions in our reach to implement along with some cuts, such as utilizing majority of the Rainy Day Fund, closing extraneous loopholes in our business taxes, identifying predictable streams of new revenue, and attracting new business enterprises, such as gaming, to our state.”     

Rep. Walle Responds to Passage of State Budget

AUSTIN — Today State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) released the following statement in response to passage of House Bill 1, the general appropriations act, by the Texas House of Representatives: 

“Over the course of the lengthy budget debate, I fought alongside my Democratic colleagues in the House to protect important state priorities — defending jobs and public education and keeping nursing homes open.  At the same time, House Republicans overwhelmingly demonstrated their unwillingness to protect those important priorities.

On Friday, 89 Republicans rejected an amendment which would have saved tens of thousands of teacher jobs and kept our public schools funded at current levels.  Republicans were also wrong to force legislators to make false choices between important priorities such as jobs and health care. 

We have a moral obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens, especially children and the elderly, but unfortunately this budget leaves them behind.  I support a responsible strategy combining smart budget cuts, use of the Rainy Day Fund and closing corporate tax loopholes to fund all of our important state priorities and strengthen our economy

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