Coming in under available revenues, the Texas Senate passed a fiscally responsible state budget that meets needs. And in what can only be described as a repudiation to the bizarre claims of the Texas House leadership, the budget was passed unanimously.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) brought the budget to the chamber’s floor in the second fastest time in modern state history, and faster than the House has done it under the speakership of Rep. Joe Straus (R- San Antonio).

The Senate’s budget spends nearly $7 billion less than the revenues the state is forecasted to receive over the next two years.

The Senate’s budget also lives under the “population and inflation” limit favored by conservatives and outlined in the platform of the Republican Party of Texas. Living under that limit has been a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Last week, Straus made headlines by bizarrely equating the Senate’s budget to “Enron” accounting.

It seems the speaker is engaging in a little projecting of his own inadequacies. Enron’s accounting problems involved falsified data and shifting non-existent dollars between accounts to give the illusion of wealth… which is more akin to the Texas House budget proposal.

Straus and his Republican enablers in the Democrat governing coalition have proposed a budget that exceeds available revenues and busts the conservative budget limit. Which means it is bad for taxpayers and bad for Texas.

Senators from both parties were disgusted by Straus’ nonsensical insults. A Senate source said the result was seen in the vote, with Democrats who disliked portions of the budget to nonetheless vote for it in a show of unity against the San Antonio speaker.

“Straus is on a suicide mission,” one member of the chamber told Texas Scorecard in an off-the-record conversation. “The House budget is reckless, baseless, and irresponsible.”

The House’s Appropriations Committee, chaired by liberal Republican John Zerwas (R-Simonton), is expected to vote this week on its budget. It is likely the House will consider it’s version of the state budget next week and then a Senate-House conference committee will work out the differences.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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