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Call/fax now! State budget battle!

What you need to know:  

Deadlines to file amendments (to cut or spend more) to the budget bills have passed. Debate comes to the House floor this week. Expect tax & spenders in both parties to make every effort to beat down spending cuts by parliamentary maneuvers and by proposing amendments to amendments. The amendment process will be long, stressful, heated, and intense.  

On Thursday (March 31) the first round of the state budget battle in the House begins with: HB 4: state budget supplemental bill dealing with current budget shortfall. Several fiscally-sound and necessary cost-cutting amendments will be debated. We also expect a flood of spending increase amendments and “amendments to amendments” on the floor. 

Also on Thursday, HB 275: appropriating money from the Rainy Day Fund to cover the current budget shortfall. Note: This bill would approve spending up to $3.2 billion from the People’s savings account, leaving approximately $6.2 billion remaining to cover the projected need of more than $14 billion in new funding to cover Medicaid increases even without ObamaCare, which – if not defunded or struck down – will add more!   

Friday (April 1): budget debate begins on HB 1: General Appropriations Bill for the 2012-2013 state budget. Debate expected through the weekend. 

Once the budget bills get through the House, they will go to the Senate where the same process will take place. Once there is agreement on the separate budget bills in the Senate, the result will go to Conference Committee for reconciliation with the House. This will be a long, contentious battle that may not end with the regular session. If an agreement is not reached, a special session will be necessary.

 

Save Texas from becoming California! Act Now! 

Call and/or fax your state representative now and every day this week. The crowds of “spend more” protestors showing up on the steps of the Capitol, in the offices of our officials, and roaming the halls far outnumber us. Why? Because we are busy working and cannot take days off to lobby! Counter them by melting the lines to the Austin & District offices of your state rep! To find your state representative’s contact info, go to:   http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/find-your-representative/  

Talking Points to use: 

  1. Over the past 20 years, state spending has increased nearly 300%, while the combined growth of population and inflation increased only 115.5%. [Source: Legislative Budget Board] The legislature must get spending under control and balance the state budget without raising taxes, levying new taxes, using accounting tricks, or raiding the Rainy Day Fund.
  2. Spending for departments, agencies, and programs outside of core constitutional responsibilities must be cut. Fiscally-responsible spending should be directed toward core constitutional priorities of: public education, law enforcement and justice, and a transportation system of state roads/bridges/drainage infrastructure.
  3. Cuts in other areas should be directed toward these three priorities: 1) protecting classroom instruction (teachers) over education bureaucracy; 2) protecting Medicaid reimbursements for those providers who serve the indigent and infirm, in particular, nursing homes, and 3) preserving the Rainy Day Fund to meet the projected $14+ billion in new Medicaid spending for the 2014 – 2015 biennium budget.
  4.  Rising fuel costs, global unrest, and uncertainty caused by suffocating federal debt, irresponsible federal spending, and onerous regulations will continue to depress the economy. The Texas Legislature should therefore exhaust all fiscally-responsible cost-cutting remedies before ever thinking about raiding the People’s Savings Account – the Rainy Day Fund.
  5.  

 JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director (volunteer)
Grassroots America – We the People  www.gawtp.com

(903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell