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Texas' head honchos say: ‘Reduce state spending’


Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus sent a letter to all state agencies directing them to reduce their budget requests for the 2018-2019 biennial budget.
In developing the budget, the leaders urged agency heads to continue building off the successful work of the 84th legislative session to restrain the size of government and strengthen the State of Texas.
“Limited government, pro-growth economic policies and sound financial planning are the key budget principles responsible for Texas' economic success,” Abbott, Patrick and Straus wrote in the letter. “It is imperative that every state agency engage in a thorough review of each program and budget strategy and determine the value of each dollar spent. As the starting point for budget deliberations, we are requiring each agency to trim 4 percent from their base appropriation levels.”
Exceptions to the baseline request limitation include funds necessary to:
• Maintain funding for the Foundation School Program under current law
• Maintain public safety resources in the border region to help secure Texas
• Satisfy debt service requirements for bond authorizations
• Maintain funding at fiscal year 2017 budgeted levels plus amounts necessary to cover the impact of payroll growth for state pension systems and employee group benefits – not including payroll contributions made by state agencies and institutions of higher education for retirement and group health insurance – though group benefit modifications may be considered
• Maintain funding for Child Protective Services
• Maintain funding for behavioral health services programs
• Maintain current benefits and eligibility in Medicaid programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program, foster care program, adoption subsidies program and the permanency care assistance program. Baseline requests for these programs should include amounts sufficient for projected caseload growth.