Texas House Committee Passes Budget Bill That Cuts Spending to the Bone
The Texas House Appropriations Committee has approved a state budget bill that cuts state spending by more than $23 billion dollars. The bill now goes to the full House, where the debate is expected to be heated, emotional, and loud.
The bill includes money taken from the state's rainy-day fund to cover part of a deficit that otherwise would drain future spending, but it still makes deep and painful cuts that will force a lot of painful decisions in all areas of state government.
Appropriations Committtee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, says the bill would cut public school funding by about $8 billion dollars. It would cut Medicaid spending by $6 billion dollars, and cut Medicaid reimbursement rates to levels that could force some nursing homes to close.
Pitts says this is a budget that reflects the money the state has, and a lot of house members say this is as far as they can go.
The full House is expected to take up the bill late next week. Meanwhile, the State Senate is working on its own version of the state budget, facing the same economic and fiscal realities the House is facing. Differences in the House and Senate proposals will be worked out in a conference committee.