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Texas Senate approves nearly $4 billion from fund

Texas Senate approves nearly $4 billion from fund
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Monday, May 16, 2011 - 4:24pm

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate overwhelmingly voted on Monday to spend nearly $4 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund to close gaps in the current state budget.

Spending money from the state's savings account has been one of the most divisive issues of the session, with fiscal conservatives — backed by Gov. Rick Perry — reluctant to withdraw any of the money, while Democrats have urged budget writers to spend more to help fund public education and health care needs, both of which took huge hits in initial budget proposals.

The chamber's chief budget writer said the 30-1 vote makes a strong statement at a point when lawmakers are running out of time and are still divided on how to hash out a state budget that sends shock waves through all sectors of government.

"The Senate spoke today with almost total unanimity," said Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan.

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