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Texas State Budget Is Rejected

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The state comptroller rejected the Legislature's $117.4-billion state budget Thursday, saying the price tag is $185.9 million more than Texas can afford.

Texas law requires a balanced budget, and the comptroller must certify the spending plan before it goes to the governor.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Thursday that the two-year spending plan passed by the Legislature this month, even though it closes most of the $9.9-billion revenue shortfall, still falls $185.9 million short of balancing. She sent it back to the Texas House to rewrite before the current fiscal year ends Aug. 31.

"We need a certifiable 'pay as you go' budget by mid-July or the schools won't open in September," Strayhorn said.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry already has called a special legislative session to begin June 30 to discuss redistricting, and lawmakers are expected to take up the budget again then.

"While the announcement is disappointing, I believe legislators can quickly address her concerns," Perry said Thursday.

Republicans, who control the Capitol for the first time in more than 130 years, had touted the budget as historic because it reined in spending in Texas for the first time since World War II.

The plan included the expectation of 10% less revenue than the current budget, but Strayhorn opposed some of the tactics used to fill the gap.

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