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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two Shortfalls

Senate Finance voted out SB 1 this morning on an 11 - 4 vote. Sens. Lucio, Patrick, Whitmire and Zaffirini voted no. This means that SB 1 does not currently have the necessary 21 votes to be brought up for debate on the Senate floor next week, which requires all 19 Republicans plus 2 Democrats. They have the 2 Democrats (Hinojosa and West), but are short at least 1 Republican (Patrick).

Patrick is a no because SB 1 spends an additional $3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for the 2012-13 biennium. Ultimately, this will also turn out to be the difference in conference with the House as well. House leadership and the Governor have stated unequivocally that they will not support any additional spending from the Rainy Day Fund.

Accordingly, there are two shortfalls in the budget. One is the necessary votes to suspend in the Senate so that it can be debated on the floor. The second is the $3 billion the Senate proposes to spend from the Rainy Day Fund, which the House and the Governor say they will not support.