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I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Burka Balances Budget


In the October issue of Texas Monthly, Paul Burka takes up Texas’ upcoming $18 billion budget deficit. He warns that it won’t be pretty.

Burka closes this humongous gap by eliminating state agencies such as the Railroad Commission, Agriculture Dept, Public Utility Commission and the Commission on Environmental Quality, releasing non-violent drug-possession offenders, delaying school construction, adjusting student-to-staff ratios to 2006 levels, reducing standardized testing, delaying the purchase of new textbooks, reducing TEA grants to districts, reducing the merit pay for teachers program, removing “special item” funding to state colleges and universities, eliminating the A&M AgriLife Extension Service, cutting TxDOT earmarks, and cutting all state agency budgets by 5%.

This gets us halfway there. Next he goes for new revenue, the ground rules being that there will be no tax increases because Rick Perry says that if he is re-elected he will veto any tax hikes. So Burka would raise fees, fines, licenses, and permits by 20%, ask the Legislature to allow video lottery terminals at racetracks, and finally, withdraw half of the Texas Rainy Day Fund, or $4.5 billion.

That easy huh? Burks wraps up by saying that this is only the beginning.

“Because of decisions that the state’s leaders made several years ago, budget cruises will be a permanent feature of state government. In 2006 the Legislature cut school property taxes by one third, reaping great political benefits in the process, but its attempt to raise new revenue fell far short of projections. This underperformance has created what state finance experts describe as a structural budget deficit, an ongoing inability to generate enough revenue to pay for the current level of state services. Governor Perry and other state leaders have evidenced no concern about the structural deficit. Instead they supported reducing the revenue from the business tax, notwithstanding the structural deficit and the looming shortfall. Their fiscal policy is (1) never raise taxes and (2) pray for a boom. The structural deficit is the elephant in the living room of state government. And it may crush us all.”

3 Comments:

At 7:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ( the budget deficit) will not be pretty....but there are 49 "OTHER" states in the same boat! So what make Texas' budget all that unique as say.....California's Deficit ? which drawfs..the next ten states combined.
-Scott

 
At 7:32 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

When Texas is stacked up against other states in statistics such as infant mortality, teen pregnancy, killed on the job, you name it, Texas comes in #49 and the saying is 'thank God for Mississippi.'

 
At 7:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Arkansas ?
I'm a littlle leary of thosesindividuals who tabulate those statistics like you just mentioned...I place them under suspect as ..usually those who catagorize and tabulete are Passionate about their cause...and ...report those as much worse than they really are.

example: Air pollution...as I travel many times I pick up local newspaper and headlined is the dire crisis of the Air Pollution..." and local EPA officials says that particular city is the "WORST" in the nation....something is not right after visiting 23 cities last year and each and every one of their local EPA officials says that particular city's air pollution is the Worst in the country...come on.. somebody is LYING here to make the urgency of their cause( point ). Don't you thnk ?
-Scott

 

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