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TX House Speaker Craddick expounds on budget execution

By J. Lyn Carl, GalleryWatch.com

Austin, TX –

After delivering a statement today proposing that the legislature adjourn sine die because it appears that no compromise is in sight for either a public school reform or property tax reduction bill, House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) said that with schools set to begin the fall term within two weeks, school districts are in need of textbooks that are being stored until the state makes payment on them.

"The funds for those books can only be granted through budget execution, which cannot be done while we are in session," said Craddick.

With Sen. Florence Shapiro saying she has filed legislation, SB 38, which would provide for the immediate funding of textbooks for Texas schoolchildren, Craddick clarified how budget execution works.

"Our statutes are clear about how budget execution can take place," he said in a statement. The speaker said state law prohibits the proposal from being made while the Legislature is in session and requires that the proposal be published, that there be opportunity for public comment and that the actions of the Legislative Budget Board that makes the budget execution, be in a public meeting.

"I have been informed that taking this action is unprecedented," said Craddick, "and I cannot support any action that both circumvents and dilutes the Legislature's ability to exercise its budget authority."

Craddick offered the following information on budget execution:

STATUTORY RESTRICTIONS ON BUDGET EXECUTION

1. A BUDGET EXECUTION PROPOSAL MAY NOT BE MADE WHILE THE LEGISLATURE IS IN REGULAR OR SPECIAL SESSION

Section 317.003, Government Code

Time and Scope of Proposal

(a) The governor or Legislative Budget Board may make a proposal at any time except during a regular or special session of the legislature. A proposal may apply to an appropriation that has been made for any specified fiscal year that has not ended at the time the proposal is made.

2. A BUDGET EXECUTION PROPOSAL MUST BE PUBLISHED IN THE TEXAS REGISTER

Section 317.004, Government Code

Publication of Proposal

The entity making a proposal shall specify the details of the proposal, including, for a proposal made under Section 317.002(b), a statement describing the emergency. The entity making a proposal shall direct the secretary of state to publish each proposal, including any accompanying statements, in the Texas Register.

3. A BUDGET EXECUTION PROPOSAL MUST BE ADOPTED AT A PUBLIC HEARING AND IS SUBJECT TO REVISION OR CHANGE

Section 317.005, Government Code

Action on Proposal (a) After a governor's proposal under this chapter is published in the Texas Register, the Legislative Budget Board may conduct a public hearing on the proposal. The board shall give notice of a hearing under this section in the manner provided by law for notice of regular meetings of the board. The board also shall provide notice by mail of its meetings to each member of the Legislature. The notice of the meeting must include a description of the nature of the proposal or order to be considered. If the agenda includes a public hearing on a proposal, the notice must so state.

After a hearing and at a meeting held not less than 10 days after the date notice of the meeting was given in the manner provided for regular board meetings, in response to a governor's proposal the board, subject to the restrictions provided by Subsection (e), may:

(1) ratify the proposal by adopting an order changing the relevant appropriation in the manner specified in the proposal; (2) reject the proposal; or (3) recommend changes in the proposal.

4. A BUDGET EXECUTION ORDER IS ONLY EFFECTIVE AFTER IT IS PASSED AND IS NOT EFFECTIVE BEFORE IT IS ADOPTED

Section 317.008, Government Code

Effective and Expiration Dates of Order

(a) An order adopted by the governor or the Legislative Budget Board under this chapter, other than a contingent order adopted under Section 317.005(d), takes effect on the date of adoption, unless the order specifies a later date. A contingent order adopted under Section 317.005(d) and approved under this chapter takes effect on the date of approval, unless the order specifies a later date.