There are budgets, and there are political statements. House Bill 1, the slashandburn appropriations bill now being debated on the House floor, is more the latter than the former.
It is a political statement by rightwing ideologues who want to shrink state government and don’t care about the consequences – higher unemployment, more homeless on the streets, more poor people crowding into county hospital emergency rooms, poorer schools and more dropouts headed to overcrowded prisons.
The political statement called House Bill 1 is designed to appeal to antigovernment activists who would just as soon privatize the public schools and let disadvantaged Texans who are elderly, ill or frail fend for themselves. If they make it, fine; if they don’t, the tea party types really don’t care. If they could, they would return Texas to the nineteenth century. House Bill 1, as presented to the House, is a huge step in that direction.