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Budget passes

What can you say when the budget gets passed and that’s nowhere near the biggest news of the day?

The Texas Legislature approved the $152.5 billion state budget after midnight, with supporters defending it as fiscally responsible and critics calling it a pork-bloated plan embroiled in speaker’s race politics.

Just one day before the Legislature must adjourn today, the House voted 114-35 and the Senate voted 25-5 for the two-year spending plan, which covers everything from public schools to prisons to health care for the poor. It now goes to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration.

“This is a responsible budget that will meet the needs of Texas,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, after leaders staved off potential filibusters that could have killed the measure.

In the House, Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, had a different view: “The time has come to say enough is enough. We have a duty to pass an honest, responsible budget, and, members, this budget is neither of those.”

The House vote for the bill was 114-35, despite efforts by opponents of House Speaker Tom Craddick to kill it.

Failure to pass a budget would mean a special session, which would give Craddick foes another chance to try to unseat him if they don’t do so by the time this session concludes.

There seems to be a lot of anti-Craddicks calling for a special session at this point. I’d rather there not be, since there’s a lot of bad legislation that would be resurrectable in a special. Far as I can tell, Governor Perry has not said anything about the possibility since his veto of HB1892 was not overridden. I’ve no idea what he thinks of all this yet, but at least he doesn’t have to call a special if he doesn’t want to.

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