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House votes to spend some Rainy Day funds

From the Trib:

House lawmakers preliminarily passed two bills Thursday that together will balance the state’s budget for the remaining months of the fiscal year through a mix of spending cuts and use of the Rainy Day Fund. The cuts were in the first bill, HB 4, which passed by a party-line vote of 100-46. The second bill, HB 275, authorizes the use of $3.1 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. (See our liveblog of the debate here.) The latter measure generated more support from Democrats, with a final vote of 142-2.

Most of the reductions outlined in HB4 have already been implemented by state agencies. (See the list of agency fund reductions here.)

The votes came after nearly ten hours of intense debate. In all, lawmakers filed 65 amendments to HB 4. Democrats attempted to restore funding for public education, higher education, and health services. Some amendments were contingency-based; others targeted the governor’s various funds, including the mansion restoration account.

With very few exceptions, Democratic amendments went down on party line or near-party line votes. An amendment by Rep. Mark Strama limited one of Rick Perry’s slush funds, the Emerging Technology Fund, to only spend monies it had already allocated through August. A few other Democratic amendments drew a handful of Republican votes and some fine whining but still got tabled. Beyond that, nothing terribly exciting happened. The big show is tomorrow when HB1 gets debated and approximately one million amendments get voted on.

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