NPT Capitol: Straus, Perry respond to Senate throwing down the guantlet
House Speaker Joe Straus refuted the need for a special session this morning and touted the achievements of the 81 legislature at a press breakfast.
“In my view, I see no need for a special session,” Straus said. “I’m delighted with my first term as speaker…No one was disrespectful. Everyone played by the rules.” [link]
Gov. Rick Perry, in a press conference this morning, also said he was not planning to call a special session over the summer and that state agencies will continue to operate as they have done before.
“We’re going to keep building roads and maintaining the highways…We’re going to continue to have an insurance industry that’s regulated We’re going to make sure that Texans are taken care of and those employees in those agencies are going to continue to go to work every day.” [link]
Word at the Sine Die parties last night was that Perry will hold the special session card in his pocket until after the primaries – “Enjoy the summer, see you in March,” seemed to be the prevailing sentiment of several sources close to House members.
Read Straus press release listing what he considers the achievement of the session after the jump
AUSTIN— After deliberating for 140 days, today Texas House Speaker Joe Straus decla red the 81st Texas Legislative
Session a success. The Texas House of Representatives convened on January 13 and adjourned Sine Die on Monday.
In affirming his view of this year’s session, Speaker Straus stated, “The 81st Legislative Session was a strong success. We
invested more money in the classroom, college scholarships and healthcare while limiting spending and saving for the
future in these uncertain economic times. Not only did we address the priorities of our people, but we did so with a
renewed spirit of civility and cooperation, demonstrating that Texas matters more than party or politics.”
The list of legislative accomplishments touted by the Speaker included:
· Adopted the 2010-2011 biennial budget which reduces general revenue spending by 1.9 percent.
· Unanimous passage of new education reforms that focus on student growth and achievement to rate schools.
· A $1.9 billion dollar increase in public education money.
· A $1.2 billion dollar increase in higher education funding.
· Seed money to lay the groundwork for additional Tier One Texas universities.
· Added $250 million in financial aid to make college affordable for 35,000 more students.
· Reformed the Top Ten Percent rule to give the University of Texas more flexibility.
· Tax cut which will benefit approximately 40,000 Texas small businesses.
· Protected $9.1 billion dollars in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
Unlike numerous states raising the tax and debt burden on citizens and employers, Texas legislators cut taxes for small
businesses to help thousands of business owners survive the national recession. By leaving the $9 billion dollar “Rainy
Day Fund” untouched, legislators also created a budgetary cushion for the next legislative session when they have to
address a structural deficit without the benefit of another infusion of federal stimulus funds.
Speaker Straus concluded by saying, “Together we proved much can be accomplished in a narrowly divided house if we
are willing to find common ground, build consensus, and debate the big issues of the day in a spirit of civility. Perhaps
nothing showed our shared commitment to moving Texas forward more than two significant votes: a unanimous vote to
pass the House budget and a unanimous vote to make major changes to our system of school accountability.