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Texas House Approves New Budget Proposal, But Major Questions Remain

Texas Tribune
St. Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington) and other Tx. House reps. March 31, 2015

After a marathon 17-hour debate, the Texas House gave tentative approval to its version of a new state budget this morning.

Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey tells KERA’s Sam Baker the $210-billion budget reflects a lot of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities.

Highlights of Ramsey’s interview about the Texas House budget:

Does it reflect Governor Greg Abbott’s priorities?  “The question that still in front of the Legislature is which taxes are they going to cut and by how much. All Greg Abbott is said any bill that does not include a business tax cut will get a veto. But in terms of the other programs, I think everyone is more or less on the same page.”

Funding for Pre-K: “This is one of those programs everyone says they want, and when you ask houch they want to spend on it, the answers go all over the place. One of the questions is whether it full day over all the state, partial day, or whether it actually reaches over the state. All Greg Abbott has said is that he wants a robust pre-K program and I think he might be willing to phase that in.”

More money was approved for border security: “Questions still about this. How much money do you want to spend on Texas National Guard troops? How much do you want to spend on Texas state police? How do you want to equip them? How are you going to measure the results on any dollars you spend? And all of those are open questions and subject to some argument that’s probably ahead when they reconcile the House and Senate budgets.”

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.