I confess, I haven't been paying nearly close enough attention to the budget debates going on in both chambers right now. Inside the Texas Capitol and The Red State have some excellent analyses that I urge you to read. Eddie from The Red State notes that not only is the mantra about "fully restoring CHIP funds" misleading, but there's a little political gamesmanship going on, too:
And what would an appropriations bill be without some gubernatorial politicking. The "Pass the Buck" rider in the Article 9 of this bill would require the Office of the Comptroller, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, to make budget cuts if the budget does not balance. Strayhorn, a fierce critic of Gov. Perry, is thinking about/maybe or is running for governor in 2006. So, if the budget falls apart due to bad numbers (and it usually does) or for whatever reason, the Comptroller would be the bad guy in the black hat. This situation is a win/win for Perry because if she cuts the budget more, then she plays the heavy, and if she refuses to cut then she is abdicating her responsibility and not doing her elected job. In addition, the power of appropriation belongs to the Legislature and arguably is unconstitutional to pass this responsiblity.