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More on the budget deal

From the Statesman:

The agreement is hinged on the House passing a so-called fiscal matters bill, Senate Bill 1811, that would free up money to help pay for the $3 billion in additional spending to which the House negotiators agreed.

“Once they get (SB) 1811 passed, I think we’ll resume deliberations on the budget, and hopefully we can get it closed out tomorrow,” Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said Friday.

The Senate agreed to back off $1 billion in spending to reach consensus on the budget – of paramount importance to the state’s Republican leaders, who want to avoid a special legislative session this summer.

[…]

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate did its part to deal with the budget package by advancing its school finance plan.

The budget deal shorts school districts by $4 billion over the next two years compared with current law. But neither chamber had passed separate legislation that would change that law and reduce the state’s obligation.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, had previously been unable to muster the 21 votes to bring the school finance bill up for debate in the Senate because Democrats refused to support a $4 billion reduction in funding for school districts. But an opportunity presented itself when Senate Bill 1581, a budget-related education bill, got kicked back to the upper chamber because of a procedural issue.

Senators voted 17-13 to attach their school finance proposal, which changes how state aid is distributed to districts. The House might take it up as early as Monday.

Shapiro said this approach is “the best chance, the very best chance that we have as a body to protect the classroom.” She added that the Senate plan might not be perfect, but it is an effort to soften the impact of reduced funding for public education.

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said cuts to public education are inevitable. But he said he voted against the measure because Senate leaders had failed to fix a system that they acknowledge is broken. “We are going to accept broken as normal,” he said.

As noted by the Trib’s liveblog, the House passed SB1811 at about 1AM Saturday morning. I figure today and tomorrow will be about passing other bills, with SB22 being a top priority for the House next week. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of SB1811, read the LSG analysis of it and the many amendments to it that were filed.

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  1. […] may have a budget deal, but what we still don’t have is a school finance plan. The Senate’s long-stalled plan […]