There’s been a lot of it in Austin over the past couple of weeks.
First, the state watched as the Governor and Lt. Governor were “sworn” into office on the Capitol steps. The inauguration events were scaled down this year as compared to prior events in deference to the economic issues facing the state.
The next “swearing” began just hours later when members of the House and the public got their first look at the Legislative Budget Board’s recommendations regarding the revenues and interventions for the budget.
Then the real “swearing” reached fever pitch when the Legislative Budget Board’s Recommended House Bill 1 was published and everyone got a good look at the impact of the proposed budget (994 pages of detail). Chairman Pitts (House Appropriations Committee) presided over a one-and-a-half -hour explanation of the proposed budget’s evolution to House members. Not surprisingly, the program reductions and eliminations that would be required with passage of HB1 gave members of both parties indigestion.
The “swearing” continued when the Legislative Budget Board’s Recommended SB1 was published five days later (997 pages of detail). The enormity of the task of crafting the Texas 2012-2013 biennium budget is now a very sobering reality.
The “rules” or guidelines set out by the executive branches of Texas Government and the Legislative Budget Board members were plain and simple:
- Build a budget with NO NEW TAXES!
- Build a budget that DOES NOT utilize any of the “Rainy Day Fund!”
- Build a budget that “lives within the state’s revenue forecast!”
- Build a budget that focuses on “less government!”
And, that they did! You can access both HB1 and SB1 at www.lbb.state.tx.us . They are worth review. You can also refresh your knowledge of the Texas Legislative Process with the aid of a summary process chart found at www.tlc.state.tx.us/gtli/legproc/diagram.html.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed senators to committees late Friday afternoon.