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Senate budget pretty much the same as the House budget

There had been some talk that the initial Senate budget would be a little less harsh than the initial House budget, on the grounds that the Senate budget would at least use some of the Rainy Day fund, but that was not the case in the end.

The Senate’s version of a starting state budget is, at $158.7 billion, $2.3 billion bigger than the House’s, but still would chop overall state spending by $28.8 billion, or 15.4 percent, from current levels.

The upper chamber’s initial budget proposal includes a total of $69.8 billion for public and higher education; the House version provides $67.7 billion for education. Their overall spending on health and human services is about the same (though some details differ). If you’re looking only at state money — general revenue funding — the Senate would spend $79.7 billion, compared to the $79.3 billion in the House plan presented last week.

The big difference in state spending, as with the overall budget, is in education. The Senate would leave public schools $9.3 billion short of what they’re due under current education funding formulas, about $500 million better off than the schools would do under the House plan. In either case, the Legislature would have to change its school funding formulas, and until they do that, there’s no way to know which school districts lose how much money. Technology allotment and pre-kindergarten early start grants aren’t funded.

Like the House, the Senate would cut more than $254 million from special item funding for state colleges and universities and $431 million from student financial aid programs (if the money becomes available, they’d add back $50 million of that financial aid, for a total cut of $381 million).

They do similar things in health and human services, cutting provider reimbursement rates by another 10 percent on top of cuts already made and without taking into account federal stimulus funds used in the current budget that won’t be available for the next budget.

No rainy day fund, or anything else to increase revenue. On the plus side, those four community colleges that would be shut down under the House budget have been spared. See, whining works if you’re a Republican.

As with the Pitts budget, the Ogden budget is also being called a “starting point”, from which we might consider using the Rainy Day fund to make the impact a little less terrible. I’m linking to that story specifically for the purpose of mocking someone who richly deserves it:

Advocates of limited government applauded a bare-bones approach as an initial step in the discussion.

“You shouldn’t start the discussion of your family budget with how much of the family savings account can we tap this month,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

Someone should inform Michael Quinn Sullivan about how actual American families have been living recently:

Over the two years ending September 2010, Americans withdrew a net $311 billion — or about 1.4% of their disposable income — from their savings and investment accounts, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s a sharp divergence from the previous 57 years, during which they never made a net quarterly withdrawal. Rather, they added an average of 12% of disposable income to their holdings of financial assets — including bank accounts, money-market funds, stocks, bonds and other investments — each year.

See, if it’s a choice between eating out or having premium cable or stuff like that, people will cut back in tough times. But if the alternative is to not eat two days a week, or to turn off the electricity on weekends, or otherwise cut out actual necessities for living, most people will do whatever they can to find the money to pay for them, whether that means taking another job, selling off prized possessions, dipping into savings, or going into debt. Somehow, that never makes it into conservative narratives about budget shortfalls.

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5 Comments

  1. texaschick says:

    “Someone should inform Michael Quinn Sullivan about how actual American families have been living recently:”

    Perhaps you should enlighten him?

  2. texaschick says:

    One question.

    Why hasn’t anyone generated a petition opposing our lawmakers spending time and money on crazy legislation that will only end up costing taxpayers money because there will be lawsuits filed against them.
    1. Birther bill
    2. Anti-immigration bill

    Another petition:

    Demanding our lawmakers use the rainy day fund. If this article is factual, then Perry put federal money in the rainy day fund that should have gone to education.

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/08/30/perry-accepts-education/

  3. Ross says:

    So, what happens if we spend the rainy day fund this time, and need a ton of money to take care of things after some natural disaster, or to make up even more shortfall if the economy dips between now and the next time the legislature meets?

  4. texaschick says:

    This is crazy! Cut education but pass an unconstitutional bill that requires 2M funding?

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7396116.html
    House slams brakes on voter ID measure
    Push for public input thwarts bid to follow Senate on fast-tracking bill
    By R.G. RATCLIFFE and GARY SCHARRER
    AUSTIN BUREAU
    Jan. 24, 2011, 11:18PM
    excerpts
    “This year’s Senate Bill 14, however, allows a person to vote only with a Texas driver’s license or state identification card, a valid military ID or a federal document such as a passport that proves citizenship and contains a photograph. The bill also includes $2 million for voter education and requires the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue a free photo ID card to any citizen who wants it for voting.”

    “West also questioned whether there actually is any in-person voter fraud in Texas. Most prosecutions for vote fraud in the state involve mail-in ballots where a photo identification would not be required.

    Duncan said there was testimony in 2009 about dead people voting. Most of that testimony involved comparing lists of people who voted with Social Security death records, but often on verification, the allegation has been shown to involve people with similar names.”

  5. Ross – Then we wouldn’t have the option of using it. But again, what’s the point of having it if you don’t use it at a time like this? What good is it doing us if it just sits there?