Losers in the State Budget

Republicans have said they don’t want to raise taxes to balance the budget that has a shortfall of between 15 and 27-billion dollars. Democratic lawmakers say some of the biggest cuts could come from education and health care. Pat Hernandez has more.

In the first draft of the 2-year state budget, lawmakers have proposed cutting millions of dollars from Texas colleges and universities.

The draft would eliminate financial aid for new college students and end funding for four community colleges.
Democrats responded and Houston State Representative Jessica Farrar says the cuts go beyond education.

“The cuts that we’re facing are 10 billion dollars in public education, a billion dollars in college scholarship programs, and a billion dollars to seniors that live in nursing homes.”

Houston State Representative Garnet Coleman says seniors who rely on government assistance will be affected by the proposed budget.

“The people who are covered by Medicaid. 70-percent of them are the elderly and disabled, in either nursing homes or in home care. And what this budget would do is cut 1.57 billion from the nursing facility payments to those nursing homes.”

Coleman says since nursing home eligible residents and the disabled make up 70-percent of the Medicaid expenses in the state, it would be wrong to fail seniors who’ve already provided productive lives for Texas. Democrat Mike Villareal of San Antonio says lawmakers should not expect the crisis to be fixed with cuts.

“And if we fail to take a broader look at correcting our finances, so that they grow with our growing population — we will be back here again in two or four years.”

Education experts say the proposed cuts for public schools could put teacher positions in jeopardy.