Legislature Approves $6.6 Billion Emergency-Spending Measure

AUSTIN (March 12, 2013)--A $6.6 billion emergency spending bill to settle unpaid Medicaid costs has won final passage in the Texas Legislature won final approval Tuesday in a unanimous vote in the Texas House.

The measure also covers $1.7 billion owed to public schools.

Cost-cutting lawmakers postponed the payment in 2011 as a trick to balance the books in the face of a massive state budget shortfall.

State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, told lawmakers that medical providers would stop getting paid this week unless the chamber approved the bill.

The Legislature isn't done spending money on the current budget before writing the next one.

Lawmakers now turn their attention to another supplemental bill that would settle, among other items, the costs of fighting wildfires in 2011.

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