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Monday, January 18, 2021

Texas House speaker blasts Senate budget’s accounting trick

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate’s proposed $106.3 billion state budget is now set for a floor vote next week — but it’s already being blasted by the Republican head of the House.

Adopted Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee, the budget features no extra funding for public schools but continues spending $800 million on border security.

The oil slump has lawmakers looking to lower costs. The House supports tapping Texas’ rainy day fund to spare spending cuts. But the Senate avoided that using accounting tricks involving $2.5 billion earmarked for transportation.

House Speaker Joe Straus immediately likened the move to “cooking the books,” underscoring how hard it may be for both chambers to reconcile their separate budget proposals.

Meanwhile, even Gov. Greg Abbott is having difficulty finding funding for his pre-kindergarten initiative.

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