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Posts Tagged ‘ogden

NPT Capitol: state budget passes the House 142-2

The state budget just passed the House as amended by the Senate.

According to the Speaker’s office, it includes a $1.9bn increase in public education funding, $1.2bn increase in Higher Education funding, $264m to boost HE financial aid and an increase in $208m for community service operations benefiting “our most vulnerable disabled populations.”

It also includes $2bn in new bonds for more highways and around $12bn in federal stimulus funds.

A few El Paso specific items after the jump

–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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NPT Capitol: Senate passes its version of the budget, Shapleigh votes no

The Texas Senate passed its version of the state budget, Wednesday. SB 1 passed 26 votes to 5, with El Paso state Senator Eliot Shapleigh voting against.

SB 1, authored by Senator Steve Ogden, R-Bryan uses over $10bn of federal stimulus aid while leaving the state’s rainy day fund untapped (at round $9bn).

Shapleigh, along with Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, raised concerns at the very start of the debate Wednesday afternoon about the legality of using stimulus funds when Texas has the money to plug its own budgetary holes using the rainy day fund. (The Economic stimulus package, HR1, has provisions which prohibit the use of stimulus money if it simply substitutes for cash a state was going to dole out anyway, providing ways for the feds to recover the money.)

Ogden cautioned that Texas’ economic circumstances “could get worse before they get better.” Hence it was prudent to use stimulus money now and keep rainy days funds in the tank for an even rainier day. Otherwise Texas would “really be in the tank” if things continued to slide. (There are rumors circulating in Austin that state comptroller Susan Combs will lower her revenue estimate for the biennium. i.e. work out that Texas has less moolah than she first thought.)

The state budgetary process now awaits the House’s version of the bill. Then the two chambers will appoint a conference committee to hash out the differences before sending it back to their respective chambers and then on to the Governor.

Check out NPT for Shapleigh’s reasons for voting against the Senate version of the budget.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm