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House Raids Rainy Day Fund, Passes Bloated Budget

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The Texas House passed its amended version of the Senate’s budget Thursday night (Friday morning) right around 1:30am. Though there were 402 pre-filed amendments on the bill, only 198 were actually laid out before the body.

The main difference between the bill as laid out in the House and the bill they had originally received from the Senate is that the House version dealt with a $2.5 Billion shortfall by withdrawing that money from the “Rainy Day Fund.” The Senate dealt with it using an accounting trick.

As is usually the case in the House, the fireworks would not result from fights between Republicans and Democrats, but by those between liberal Republicans and conservative Republicans.

Conservatives had several big objectives going into the debate including protecting the “Rainy Day Fund,” ending tax-payer funded lobbying, eliminating subsidies to the film and music industry, eliminating the Texas Enterprise Fund, repealing the so-called “Texas DREAM Act” which grants in-state tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants, and many others.

In the end, two of those proposals were successful.

Rep. Matt Shaheen’s amendment to cut film subsidies passed.

The Governor’s Texas Enterprise Fund was defunded with no expended conservative effort. A Democrat beat them to the punch. However, the amendment simply moved the funds over to the Department of Health and Human Services, rather than apply them to the budget shortfall.

Rep. Valoree Swanson did not lay out her amendment to ban taxpayer dollars from going to lobbyists.

Rep. Mike Lang did not lay out his amendment to protect the Rainy Day Fund.

Rep. Jonathan Stickland attempted to lay out an amendment to end the Feral Hog Abatement Program which he believes is an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. He was thwarted when Rep. Drew Springer tacked on language to cut $900,000 in road funding from Stickland’s home city of Bedford. Stickland was forced to withdraw the now-tainted amendment.

We do not yet know the full fiscal impact of the House’s new budget, but the un-amended version was set at $218 Billion.

The conservative Texas Freedom Caucus members kept their promise to vote against it because of its withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund.

The budget passed 131-16.

Yeas – Allen; Alonzo; Alvarado; Anchia; Anderson, C.; Anderson, R.; Arévalo; Ashby; Bailes; Bell; Bernal; Blanco; Bohac; Bonnen, D.; Bonnen, G.; Burkett; Burns; Burrows; Button; Canales; Capriglione; Clardy; Coleman; Collier; Cook; Cortez; Cosper; Craddick; Cyrier; Dale; Darby; Davis, S.; Dean; Deshotel; Dukes; Dutton; Elkins; Faircloth; Farrar; Flynn; Frank; Frullo; Geren; Gervin-Hawkins; Giddings; Goldman; Gonzales; González; Gooden; Guerra; Guillen; Gutierrez; Hernandez; Herrero; Hinojosa; Holland; Howard; Huberty; Hunter; Isaac; Israel; Johnson, E.; Johnson, J.; Kacal; King, K.; King, T.; Klick; Koop; Kuempel; Lambert; Landgraf; Larson; Laubenberg; Longoria; Lozano; Lucio; Martinez; Metcalf; Meyer; Miller; Minjarez; Moody; Morrison; Mr. Speaker(C); Muñoz; Murphy; Murr; Neave; Nevárez; Oliveira; Oliverson; Ortega; Paddie; Parker; Paul; Perez; Phelan; Phillips; Pickett; Price; Raney; Raymond; Reynolds; Roberts; Rodriguez, E.; Rodriguez, J.; Romero; Rose; Schofield; Schubert; Sheffield; Shine; Simmons; Smithee; Springer; Stephenson; Stucky; Thierry; Thompson, E.; Turner; Uresti; VanDeaver; Villalba; Vo; Walle; White; Wilson; Workman; Wray; Wu; Zerwas

Nays – Biedermann; Cain; Davis, Y.; Fallon; Hefner; Krause; Lang; Leach; Rinaldi; Sanford; Schaefer; Shaheen; Stickland; Swanson; Tinderholt; Zedler

Absent, Excused – Keough; King, P.; Thompson, S.

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