May 5, 2011
Contact: Peter Clark, Peter.Clark@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0532 (o), (512) 417-9262 (c)
Villarreal Shows State Has Alternatives to Slashing Education & Nursing Home
Austin - Today Representative Mike Villarreal released a list of options that the Legislature has refused to adopt as alternatives to making deep cuts in education, nursing homes, and other basic services. The alternatives outlined by Rep. Villarreal demonstrate that the Legislature could take a balanced approach that combines reasonable budget cuts with the use of the Rainy Day Fund and other options that have been filed as bills during this legislative session.
"Those in control made the decision to slash education funding and close nursing homes instead of using the Rainy Day Fund, closing tax loopholes, and using other options to protect Texas children and seniors," said Rep. Villarreal. "While the Senate budget is better than the dreadful House budget, it will harm children and seniors at a time when we have other options."
The Senate budget cuts health and human service programs for seniors, children and people with disabilities by nearly as much as the House budget, although the cuts are distributed differently. The Senate budget is $4 billion short of the state's legal obligation to fund schools, in addition to eliminating grant programs for pre-kindergarten, science labs, and other educational necessities. If the Senate budget passes, it will be the first time in the modern school-reform era, dating back to 1984, that the state has failed to fund the growth in public school student population. The Senate budget will make college more expensive by cutting 29,000 TEXAS Grants and pushing universities to raise tuition.
The alternatives outlined by Rep. Villarreal include protecting education and nursing homes through the use of $6 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, $1 billion from the proposed soda tax (Senate Bill 1004), $750 million from a proposed cigarette tax increase (House Bill 2602), and $1 billion from suspension of the high-cost natural gas tax exemption (amendment to SB 655).
Please click here to find attached further details on the House budget, the Senate budget, the balanced alternative suggested by Rep. Villarreal, and the budget required to continue current services.