With little wiggle room, Colorado House debates tight budget

Posted April 09, 2017

The House vote included using $2.5 billion from the state's savings account, colloquially known as the Rainy Day Fund.

But proposals to scale back Texas' $800 million border operation during a marathon debate appeared largely symbolic. Celia Israel, D-Austin, would ban any state funding for the construction or maintenance of a border wall - such as the kind championed by President Donald Trump - in Big Bend National Park. His statement did say that he will work the senate to get the budget to move forward. "And that's going to be awhile". The failed attempts to divert funding included a $13.9 million cut from school testing, a slew of cuts to Medicaid that included increasing co-pays and eliminating coverage for adults without children, and an across-the-board cut of a number of state government agencies that would have sent an additional $314 million to schools.

The Senate spared border security from any cuts, and the House plan would also keep funding 50-hour workweeks on the border for almost two dozen Texas Rangers and 250 troopers. The House only stopped short of purchasing new big-ticket defense items, such as more spy planes or armored boats to patrol the Rio Grande.

"The house also voted to put and take, which means any amendment that spends money, the author of that amendment has to find that same amount of money elsewhere that they can strip out of the budget". "The House, with the vote today, strongly took a position in support of our public schools, our public school teachers".

The House added $20 million for new state liquor stores on the northbound and southbound lanes of I-95, which were not in the governor's proposal, along with $750,000 for NHLC headquarter renovations.

For rural Republican members of Team Straus, such as VanDeaver, it's politically safe to oppose vouchers. But overwhelming House opposition didn't wavier.

Also of note, a controversial abortion-related amendment passed the House during the budget debate.

Thursday's 93-52 vote came after Republicans said the program had sought $35 million but was set to get less than $19 million.

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State Reps. Mike Schofield, R-Katy, and Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, spearheaded the effort, saying the environmental agency had been allotted funding in excess of what leaders there had actually requested.

In the House's eyes, counseling poor women to not go through with an abortion is more important than the air we breathe.

There wasn't much wiggle room for legislators, who by law must produce a balanced budget under constitutional constraints on spending and revenues.

Uncertainty remains over whether New Hampshire House Republicans can agree on a budget plan as the chamber runs up against a Thursday deadline for sending a spending plan to the Senate.

The House has voted to restore some funding to a Texas Medicaid program providing therapy for disabled children, softening $350 million in cuts that sparked uproar last session.

The deal also ended debate hours ahead of schedule by sweeping hundreds of remaining budget amendments, including Swanson's, into Article XI of the state budget, known as the "wish list" or the "graveyard". If the House can not rally majority support for a budget by day's end, it leaves the Senate with much more sway in writing the state's next two-year spending plan.

Stickland: "Did we just defund the Texas Enterprise Fund to zero?"

Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, filed an amendment that would cut $145.6 million from border security to fund a program that offers free tuition to veterans and their children at public universities.