Legislators Say Budget Cuts Not Enough

So just what do lawmakers plan to do about the large budget deficit? Bill Stamps spoke with two representatives to get their thoughts.

Texas will need another 27 billion dollars by next year just to maintain the status quo. Republicans are in the majority in the state legislature and they plan to start making cuts wherever they can. Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston a Democrat says that’s not enough.

“There will have to be some reductions. Everybody understand that, but it just can’t be reductions solely.”

Turner says the state needs to bring in more money as well as make cuts.

“You can do it, but you’re going to be literally putting people out on the street. You’re going to be kicking people out of nursing homes. You’re gonna be removing children from their health insurance.”

Turner wouldn’t say how or where he would get the money and neither would Representative Mike Villarreal of San Antonio, a fellow Democrat.

“Now, we know that our revenue shortfall is larger than the state of California. Ours is 27 percent of our budget, their’s is 19 percent.”

Villarreal says he would appoint a bipartisan commission that would look into ways of generating revenue.

“I don’t believe you should start the process knowing what the answer is. I don’t believe that’s sincere or genuine. I do believe we should have a process that allows us to consider all our options.”

One of those options would almost have to be the dreaded t-word — taxes. But neither man would say much about it. Turner says you won’t hear that coming from him.

“I’m not advocating any tax increase. I’m not going to do that. The leadership says they’ll balance the budget with cost reductions. Let’s see if they’re able to do it.”

Both sides are gearing up for what figures to be long and tough legislative session.

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