Senator's Late Budget Changes Upset Both Sides Of The Aisle

May 23, 2013

Last-minute changes to House Bill 1025, a spending bill that has been the glue for the Texas budget, is now causing things to fall apart.

Lawmakers in the Texas House said they are shocked by the changes tacked on to a supplemental spending bill still awaiting a final vote, and have said they will not send the legislation to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has broken their agreement regarding an additional $200 million in education funding.

Turner said Williams wants to use the Systems Benefit Fund to provide the last part of the governor's tax rebates.

"Essentially what he is asking is to sacrifice a fund that is a dedicated account for low-income Texans and essentially saying, 'If you don't sacrifice their interest, we are not going to give the money for public schools.' That was never part of the deal," Turner said.

House Finance Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said Republicans in the House are not happy with the changes on how much overweight trucks are charged.

"That was something that really kind of surprised us," Pitts said. "In fact, I wrote Tommy Williams this morning - I texted him - and said that was a big surprise and it's got a lot of people, both republicans and democrats, upset about that. He just told me that it was a request of the lieutenant governor for us to put that in."

Williams also added a provision to the $5.4 billion spending bill that requires the passage of House Bill 7, which is tied to transportation.