Breaking News! State Budget Alert!

On a party line vote of 19 -12, the TX Senate today passed its version of the budget.  All 19 Republican Senators voted for this substitute version for the House budget bill.

To get the vote today, they had to move the vote to a House Bill day – which means the Senate was considering bills sent over from the House; therefore a 2/3 vote was not required to move to third reading and debate.  Otherwise, it would have taken all 19 Republican votes and two Democrat votes to get the bill to the floor.

The Senate’s budget bill is not completely funded.  The funding for the spending in the bill is based on whether or not the comptroller’s revenue projections are accurate.  If the revenue comes up short, Senator Ogden (Finance Committee Chair) took out the provisions of the bill that rely on a dip into the Rainy Day Fund to cover the shortfall — for now.  Instead, if the spending exceeds revenue, the bill reduces Medicaid spending by $1.25 billion and includes a contingent appropriation equivalent to a 1.2 percent across-the-board spending cut in everything except public education and debt services.
The across-the-board cuts will take place if the comptroller says the money isn’t available; if it is, those cuts won’t happen.

Medicaid cuts are another accounting gimmick.  If Medicaid comes up short when the legislature is back in 2013, they’ll take care of it then.  (Perhaps by a delayed raid on the Rainy Day Fund??)  The TX Senate’s budget pushes $3 billion in Medicaid spending off for the next Legislature to deal with!  A “kick the can down the road” method of budget balancing if ever I saw one!

Shocked?  If you are, please get over the romanticized idea that a majority of officials in Austin are Sam Houston and Davy Crockett — they aren’t!  Washington DC budget gimmicks are in play right here in TX!

And what was not cut in the TX Senate’s budget bill?  Well…we still have overlapping, duplicated state agencies, departments, and programs.  In fiscal matters bill SB 1811, no pay cuts for state employees making over $60K a year; not even pay cuts for employees making over $200K a year; no cut for statewide elected officials.  The Senate rejected a hiring freeze on vacancies (unfilled positions) in non-essential services.   In fact, it was Republicans who led the charge to talk down those amendments last week.  So don’t believe the spin the State Republican Party Chair is putting out about the budget.  We watched it and we saw with our own eyes!

Note:  Before you read these votes, remember teachers are NOT state employees:

Hiring freeze rejected 18-13:  For: Birdwell, Carona, Eltife, Fraser, Harris, Hegar, Huffman, Jackson, Nelson, Nichols, Patrick, Seliger, Shapiro.

Suspend longevity (tenure) pay supplements for two years; failed 22-9:  For:  Birdwell, Carona, Eltife, Fraser, Huffman, Jackson, Nelson, Patrick, Shapiro.

Cut pay 10% for next 2 yrs – all state employees making $200,000 & above, failed 21-10.  For:  Birdwell, Carona, Eltife, Fraser, Hegar, Huffman, Nelson, Patrick, Shapiro, Wentworth.

Cut pay 5% for state employees making $100,000 & above; failed 21-10.  For:  Birdwell, Carona, Eltife, Fraser, Hegar, Huffman, Nelson, Patrick, Shapiro, Wentworth.

What makes state employees a whole different class of worker than those in the private sector?  Why are these employees exempt from pay cuts?

The final vote to pass SB 1811 without these sensible cuts was 21-10.

Yeas:  Davis, Deuell, Duncan, Ellis, Eltife, Estes, Gallegos, Harris, Hinojosa,

Lucio, Nichols, Ogden, Rodriguez, Seliger, Uresti, Van de Putte, Watson, Wentworth,

West, Whitmire, Zaffirini.

Nays: Voting against the fiscal matters bill because the cuts were rejected:  Birdwell, Carona, Fraser, Hegar, Huffman, Jackson, Nelson, Patrick, Shapiro, Williams.

Next the budget goes to a conference committee of house and senate members.  As soon as I know who the conferees are, I will send out an alert for more calls and faxes.  We expect an effort to spend more, not cut more.  It all depends on who is appointed from the House and Senate to serve on the conference committee.

Surrender is NOT an option!  Soldier on… 

JoAnn Fleming, Chair, Advisory Committee to the Tea Party Caucus – TX Legislature and Executive Director (volunteer)
Grassroots America – We the People  www.gawtp.com
 If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

Samuel Adams, Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776

Where applicable, a political advertisement paid for by the GAWTP PAC, PO Box 130012, Tyler, TX 75713, Jimmie Taylor, PAC Treasurer.

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About Alice Linahan

Alice Linahan is a Conservative, politically-active Texas Mom who has worked hard in the trenches of the Tea Party movement. As an active Real Estate blogger turned online newspaper owner, Alice launched Resolute Media Group along with two partners. It quickly grew into playing an integral part in holding politicians and the progressive/liberal media accountable by getting real stories out to Americans across the country using social media integration and Resolute Media’s “North Texas Navigator”. Now Alice has launched Voices to Action Consulting. Alice is working hard to train boots on the ground activists using social media techniques to get accurate information out to the passive majority of Americans. In addition she is working on projects at both the state and national level to save our Country from attacks from within our own borders. In addition I am currently on the Advisory Board for a new series of e-books by Harper-Collins entitled "Voices of the Tea Party". I have been published in such publications as Focus on the Family's Citizen Magazine and am board member of Women on the Wall, an organization working on building a safe and prosperous Texas for our children and grandchildren to thrive.
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