Texas Budget Debate Begins

AUSTIN, Texas (January 20, 2013)--Republicans have introduced budget proposals and Democrats and lobbyists have compiled their lists of demands and now the biennial battle of the budget begins in Austin.

Lawmakers know there is only one piece of legislation they must pass every two years and that’s the budget.

They control how $101.4 billion in general revenue is spent.

Whether that number represents a surplus or a shortfall, depends on the beholder's politics.

Gov. Rick Perry sees a budget surplus and, therefore, an opportunity to cut taxes while Democrats see a chance to restore billions of dollars in government services that lawmakers have cut since 2007, including $5.4 billion in funds for public schools.

In the middle, there are pragmatists who see an accountant's nightmare of deferred spending, budget gimmicks and a misrepresentation of the state's true financial health.

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