2012-13 Budget Instructions Are Wrong Way To Go: Texas Needs A Balanced Approach

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Eva DeLuna Castro /(512) 320-0222 x 103

May 28, 2010

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On May 27, the Governor’s Budget Office and the Legislative Budget Board issued budget instructions to state government agencies, state courts, and public higher education institutions, setting the baseline for the coming 2012-13 biennium at levels that reflect any General Revenue (GR) cuts already approved to 2010-11 spending. Agencies must also submit information on how they would cut GR spending by another 10 percent.

These proposals will eventually become the draft budget bill that the Legislature will consider in 2011. As in the past, the budget instructions try to account for at least some spending increases needed in a few key areas, such as the Foundation School Program for elementary and secondary education, and Medicaid, CHIP, foster care, and eligibility staff, helping to lessen the negative consequences for the millions of Texans that depend on these programs. But many other parts of the budget will not be allowed to include funding for cost inflation or increased client need, such as health care provider rates or costs. These instructions are starting the state down the wrong path to deep budget cuts by concealing true costs and consequences. Texas cannot create jobs today and ensure prosperity tomorrow through budget cuts alone. Texas needs a balanced approach that uses the Rainy Day Fund and adds new revenue.