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House Budget Committee Agrees To Tap Reserve Fund & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The Texas House has agreed to use $3.2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to close a deficit in the 2011 budget, sending the measure to the full House.

The vote came shortly after a joint statement from Gov. Rick Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus, saying that the leaders had agreed to tap the reserve fund.

The move ended a stalemate between the Republican governor and GOP House leaders and conservative members.

Earlier, state House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, urged Perry to agree publicly to tap the fund to address the 2011 deficit. Perry, meanwhile, has said repeatedly that the Rainy Day Fund should only be used as a last resort.

The legislation still must win two-thirds approval in both the House and Senate before becoming law.

FWISD Optimistic About Rainy Day Fund

Based on the agreement between Texas lawmakers and the Governor to spend some of the state's Rainy Day Fund, Fort Worth schools hope to face smaller cuts than before.

Exactly how much remains unclear. In one scenario, Fort Worth ISD may only have to cut $25 million or so from its budget this year and next instead of $40 million each year.

All Texas schools must now wait to see how the rainy day dollars will be applied to the Appropriations Bill. Then budget differences in both chambers must be reconciled.

Texas gives company $2.45M to build headquarters

Gov. Rick Perry says $2.45 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund will be used to help an information technology company build its corporate headquarters in Richardson.

Perry's office estimated Tuesday that the grant to Virtual Computing Environment Company will generate 434 jobs and an estimated $35 million in capital investment.

Virtual Computing was formed by Cisco and other firms to provide information technology services to other organizations.

The enterprise fund was created by the Legislature in 2003 and has given more than $430 million to businesses operating in Texas.

Sendai Japan Responds To Dallas Letter

The Japanese city of Sendai has responded to a letter sent by Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Sendai and Dallas are official "Friendship Cities."

Mika Katana, with the city of Sendai, says: The downtown area where our city hall is located hardly had serious damage while the area near the coast was totally devastated by tsunami.

Katana says electricity has been restored to some areas of Sendai, but many of the homes that escaped destruction still do not have "lifeline utilities" - including electricity, gas and water.

Katana says the letter from Mayor Caraway "gives us strength and moves us forward."