Economic Extremists Planning More Cuts for Devastated State Programs
(Austin, Texas) – In spite of a projected, unbudgeted increase of $1.6 billion dollars in tax revenues over the next two years, legislative leaders sent instructions to state agencies to plan for ten percent less money in their budgets over the next biennium on top of last years record cuts. The direction comes from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), which is headed by Republicans Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Strauss. Reduced funding after the last legislative session’s dramatic cuts could be ruinous for already under funded and understaffed government services and further endanger public education.
“They are calling for blind and thoughtless across-the-board cuts. And because of their opaque budget games and accounting tricks, Texans don’t really know what’s being done with their tax money,” said Glenn Smith, Director of Progress Texas.
Smith added: “We have an increase in tax revenue and an untouched rainy day fund but instead of talking about what our children, schools, highways, and small businesses need, they are tightening the noose around the necks of the middle class.”
In the last legislative session, lawmakers led by Governor Rick Perry cut billions from public schools, which eliminated tens of thousands of teaching positions and prompted larger class sizes. Schools all across Texas are being forced to close as local boards struggle to operate with reduced state funding and local communities are being forced to raise taxes and fees as our state abandons its obligations. College is now out of reach of money Texans.
The LBB describes the ten percent budget cut planning as an “exercise” for state agencies to be prepared if the economic recovery falters in Texas but it appears to be another planned political step in the direction of more forced austerity.
“Planning for failure cannot be the default of every legislative session,” Smith said. “Every economist looking at what’s happened over the past several years in this country and elsewhere has concluded that to build a future with good schools and health care and transportation infrastructure, you simply have to be willing to invest. Republicans say they want to run Texas like a business but a failure to plan for tomorrow are the kind of decisions that force businesses to shut down, not grow.”