AUSTIN, Texas - The governor warned senators that special interests are already hungrily eyeing the state comptroller’s revenue estimates.
“They all want more for their causes,” Gov. Rick Perry said. “They all figure we have manna falling from heaven. And they all have your phone numbers and addresses.’
Houston-area Republicans echoed the governor’s caution.
“We’re not as flush as many have made us out to be,” said state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. “It’s still going to be a challenge to write the state budget.”
Democrats, though, generally argue that the state needs to restore some of the funds cut in the last legislative session.
“You know, we cut $5.5 billion from public education,” said state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. “I think our No. 1 priority is educating our kids. And hopefully we will restore many of the cuts that we made in public education.”
But many Republicans are wary of spending more on anything including education.
“The idea that we don’t spend any money on education is just wrong,” said state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. “We cut. Some districts took a 3 percent cut, some took a 6 percent cut. That was not out of line. That was not draconian. That was realistic at that time.”
Patrick will play a central role in the debate over public education as chairman of the Senate education committee.
The conservative talk show host from Houston is a longtime advocate of school vouchers, a system that basically would allow parents to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools.