Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 10: Waiting for More Dough

Today is the 10th day of the Texas Legislature. The House will reconvene at 10 am. The Senate is adjourned until Monday at 1:30pm.

The budget is still the big topic of conversation around the capitol. With a projected shortfall of $25 billion over the next two years, and a majority party that is a.) determined to deflect responsibility for the structural faults they created in Texas's finances and b.) unwilling to shift the tax burden from the poorest Texans (who pay, on average, more than 12% of their household income in taxes) to the wealthiest (who pay less than 7%) it looks like the conversation will be long, riotous and end poorly.

The Senate adopted its rules yesterday. They are substantially similar to last session's rules although a requirement was added that the budget be available for public review for 48 hours before adoption. This is a welcomed change to a process that often moves so quickly that the public doesn't have time to properly understand it.

The budget, and the shortfall, and who's to blame for it, and how to fix it will dominate all conversation about Austin for the next few days. Expect the House to adopt its rules early next week. Once that happens and the Speaker of the House and Lt. Governor (who's in D.C. today) appoint committee chairs and members things will start moving much more quickly.

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