As Texas Economy Suffers, Budget Cuts Floated for State Agencies - Texas Scorecard

As Texans have seen their personal financial situations suffer under the government-imposed restrictions designed to curtail the Chinese coronavirus, conservatives have implored officials in state government to identify ways to slash spending ahead of the upcoming legislative session in 2021.

It appears lawmakers are getting the message.

In a memo to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick dated April 9, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen reportedly suggested directing all state agencies to “immediately identify and execute 5 percent budgetary savings.”

“It has become apparent that the time to engage in long-term economic planning is now,” Bonnen reportedly said in the memo. “While it is true that we do not have an immediate funding need or a lack of COVID-related emergency funding, all indications are that we will most certainly have a future state revenue concern due to lagging economic conditions statewide.”

This comes as Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has already stated he anticipates a several-billion-dollar shortfall of funds that will be needed to balance the budget lawmakers passed in 2019.

The memo is also dated prior to the cratering of oil prices earlier this week that saw prices per barrel go into the negatives, unprecedented in the history of the Texas oil and gas industry.

While it’s unknown whether Abbott and Patrick responded to Bonnen’s memo, one left-wing blog reported that Abbott could be floating up to 20 percent in budget cuts across state agencies. That claim was immediately disputed by lawmaker State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano), however, who says Abbott referred to the report as “inaccurate and completely unfounded” on a conference call with state lawmakers.

Over the past month, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has identified ways to rein in spending on the state level, including ending film subsidies, eliminating corporate welfare, and slashing university funding while freezing tuition.