Lessons from the 2003 Session: A Balanced Approach to Balancing the State Budget

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Dick Lavine /(512) 320-0222 x 101

April 5, 2010

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Many are looking to how legislators dealt with the 2003 budget shortfall for guidance in approaching a similar problem in 2011. For history to be helpful, though, we must accurately remember what happened. The budget shortfall in 2003 was almost $16 billion, not $10 billion, and it was closed with a balanced approach of both cutting spending and increasing revenue. The Legislature should also take a balanced approach in 2011. A balanced approach that includes new revenue is the better choice for Texas. Relying solely on budget cuts leaves critical public structures and systems, such as education and health care underfunded.