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Despite garnering 79 votes to eliminate a provision that would automatically spend money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund in the future, State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) was unable to eliminate this reckless addition to SB2.

Here’s the play-by-play:

  • Yesterday on 2nd Reading, Rep. Donna Howard proposed an amendment that would automatically spend RDF dollars in the future.
  • Howard’s amendment was adopted without a record vote.
  • Today on 3rd Reading, Rep. King attempted to strip the Howard amendment.
  • Due to House rules that amendments added on 3rd reading must garner 2/3 support, Rep. King’s efforts failed despite a 79-65 vote.

While it does not seem that it is truly the will of the House to recklessly spend savings we don’t have yet (ie a 79 to 65 vote difference), Liberals, with the help of 17 Republicans, adeptly manipulated the process to ensure it’s inclusion.

According to the preliminary record, the 17 Republican representatives who voted to recklessly auto-spend the RDF were:

Fred Brown of Bryan
John Davis of Houston
Rob Eissler of The Woodlands
Mike Hamilton of Mauriceville
Rick Hardcastle of Vernon
Will Hartnett of Dallas
Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville
Susan King of Abilene
John Kuempel  of Seguin
George Lavender of Texarkana
Dee Margo of El Paso
Lanham Lyne of Wichita Falls
Diane Patrick of Arlington
Alan Ritter of Nederland
Todd Smith of Bedford
Burt Solomons of Carrollton
Raul Torres of Corpus Christi

(UPDATE: The House Journal has been posted with corrections. Rep. Larry Gonzales of Round Rock and Rep. Vicki Truitt of Southlake intended to vote incorrectly. Rep. Rob Eissler of The Woodlands and Rep. George Lavender of Texarkana were shown casting a bad vote, but intended to vote correctly.)

It is now up to the conference committee whether the provision remains in the bill or if they strip it out before it returns to both bodies for final approval.  If still included in the final version of SB2, the bill still must pass by a 2/3 majority in order to maintain Rep. Howard’s amendment.

Finally, Governor Perry has been consistently clear that he would veto any budget provisions that use the Rainy Day Fund, and as Rep. Phil King pointed out on the House floor, “The Governor usually does what he says he’s going to do.”

Andrew Kerr is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

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