Now, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is saying he’ll do even better, announcing plans to cut the Texas Department of Agriculture’s budget by 10 percent, in light of significant decreases in state revenue due to the government-mandated economic shutdowns instituted in response to the Chinese coronavirus.
“This is going to be a tough year for Texas families,” Miller said, “and state government needs to tighten its belt along with everyone else. While TDA is already a lean, efficient agency that pays its own way, I’ve directed my staff to cut 10 percent without affecting our farmers and ranchers or our rural communities.”
Far from being limited just to farms and ranches, the TDA also oversees federal school lunch and breakfast programs and is responsible for 5 million school meals every day.
“While Texas might just be reopening, we will feel the economic impact of this pandemic for a long while,” Miller said. “But with patience and prayers, we will make it through this crisis because we are Texans.”
“We’ve had our share of dust storms, tornadoes, droughts, and famines. And we have always withstood the test. We will again,” he added.
The announcement is significant, as the TDA is the first state agency to announce it will go above and beyond the 5 percent cut recommended by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen last week.
Additionally, the Big Three have issued exceptions which, in sum, make up more than a majority of state spending.
While it is yet unknown how dire the state’s revenue estimate will be when the legislature returns to write the budget next year, with nearly 2.5 million Texans out of work and businesses continuing to either remain closed or open under crippling restrictions, lawmakers—much like average Texas families—will no doubt have to make significant and deliberate cuts.