Thursday, May 5, 2011

Senate stops raid on "Rainy Day" fund in budget vote

Austin – Texas state Senators stopped an attempt to raid the “Rainy Day” fund dead in its tracks early today with a party line vote 19-12 to enact a 2012-13 budget that eschews use of the surplus funds.

The money in question was laid by when prices paid for oil and gas exploited on state lands was at its peak.

The action is viewed in conservative circles as one of respect for the message voters sent at the polls in November, according to Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan.

The Senate form of the budget will move on to a conference committee for final consideration with the House version of the budget.

“The fact is that Texas' classrooms will be funded, so will services for the neediest of citizens. Law enforcement will have the tools to do their jobs and our courts will be open and accessible,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan of

The House of Representatives takes up consideration of a controversial Gross Margins Tax in HB3640, which would require advance payment of estimated sales taxes on liquor.

That proposal is decried by conservatives as out of line with the three rules laid down by the GOP super majority for this Legislature – don't raise taxes or fees, don't use the rainy day fund, and don't spend beyond the taxpayers' means. The Republicans furthermore are asking themselves why the state spending limits proposal never made it to the House floor.

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