One highranking Republican House member fretted during a Republican Caucus meeting this week that the Senate was making the House “look bad” by considering a budget that wouldn’t cut as deeply into state services as the House version, House Bill 1.
This fretting was reported today by Jason Embry in an Austin AmericanStatesman commentary on the emerging budget differences between the House and the Senate.
Jason didn’t identify the House member, but I have news for him or her. House leaders are “looking bad” on the budget because House Bill 1 is worse than bad. They earned that dubious distinction without any help from the Senate. And, House members who end up voting for it after the debate that begins tomorrow will deserve every negative adjective directed their way.
That being said, the budget reportedly emerging from the Senate Finance Committee isn’t much better. House Bill 1 would cut $7.8 billion from the public schools, and the Senate version would cut between $3 billion and $4 billion, according to various reports.
Approving either – or something in between – would be an abdication of the Legislature’s constitutional responsibility to maintain a strong public school system and provide for other critical public services.
The only way lawmakers are going to get where they need to be and earn the respect of most of the public is to spend all of the Rainy Day Fund and find new revenue.