POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 4:28pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 7:15am
We now have our first look at a budget for the state of Texas, and as expected, it’s pretty tough.
With a mandate to cut spending not raise revenue, the house has done just that.
It’s an easy problem to grasp. Revenues to the state are roughly at 2006 levels.
And that money has to cover a 2011 population.
Unless the budget fairy suddenly appears, there will be big cuts…
There are only 6 basic areas we deal with in the Texas budget.
And you could add up what the state spends on criminal justice, natural resources, general government and business development and it’s only 22.7% of the total.
All the rest is education and health and human services, primarily Medicaid.
And Medicaid is largely nursing homes.
And the new $164-billion, two-year budget passed out of the House Budget Committee, falls short of simply maintaining current programs by $23-billion.
That means cuts in education for the first time in decades, resulting in a loss of 100,000 jobs.
Every year, Texas public schools add about 85,000 students. So if you’re adding that many kids a year for 6 years, it’s going to cost more.
The cuts in Medicaid will mean closing nursing homes, and cutting doctor’s fees.
But the Senate will have other ideas.
That that battle could takes us well into the summer, and a special session.
And just to add to the fun in Austin, there is redistricting to do this session as well.
And they have about 60 days left to do it.