January 20, 2011
Legislative Alert Preliminary 2012-13 Budget Released The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) released the first version of the 2012-13 biennium budget late Tuesday. The House will be filing a bill form of this budget later this week (which will be known as House Bill 1). HB 1 will serve as the starting point for all budget discussions and hearings throughout session. The budget as released proposes significant cuts to all areas of state government, including public education (which appears in Article III of the budget, along with higher education). Some estimates put the cuts to public education as high as $10 billion. While cuts of this magnitude are disturbing to say the least, it is vitally important to realize that this is only the introduced version of the budget. It will undergo considerable changes as it moves through the legislative process and all aspects are negotiated. Not until the very last version of the budget, the “conference committee” version, is released will we really know exactly what will be spared and severed from the state’s budget.
The state, clearly, is in a serious fiscal situation, but it is not so serious as to justify reckless action by state legislators. The Equity Center will adamantly oppose any action that would negatively impact the formulas, allotments and weights of the formula funding system. We cannot allow this to happen. The state has too many other options, including using all of the Rainy Day fund, which must be utilized before any cut to the formula system is even considered. Rest assured that the Equity Center will monitor each step in the budget process, and not only will we be fighting to help preserve the resources you need to educate your children, but we will keep you updated in a variety of ways to help you fight the battle on your front. The vast majority of our Alerts, EC Xpress articles, Podcasts, etc. over the next few weeks will focus on interpreting the budget and addressing our members’ concerns with the best and most reliable information available. Although the complete version of Article III of the budget is not available on the Capitol website yet, we have made it available to our members at www.equitycenter.org/articleIII
As always, if you have any questions, concerns or feedback please feel free to contact us.
1220 Colorado Street, Suite 300 – Austin, Texas 78701 – 512.478.7313 – FAX 512.478.6433 – equitycenter.org