- Negotiators approve state budget totaling nearly $172.4 billion – Peggy Fikac, Chron Texas Politics
Legislative negotiators agreed on a two-year state budget totaling nearly $172.4 billion, an 8.1 percent decrease from current spending in state and federal funds combined.
Despite all the “sky is falling” reporting and lecturing from so many journos, the budget gets cut 8.1% from the last (bloated) budget and education spending actually increases slightly in absolute terms.
- What Texas can teach us – Michael Barone, Washington Examiner
- On Capitol Hill, doctors tout Texas' brand of tort reform – Sarah Tung, Houston Chronicle
- Judge orders VA cemetery to allow "Jesus" to be named in prayer – Terri Langford, Houston Chronicle
A federal judge slapped down the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday, saying it can’t stop a pastor from using the words “Jesus Christ” in his Memorial Day invocation at Houston National Cemetery.
“The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity,” U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes wrote in his order, granting the Rev. Scott Rainey’s motion for the court to intercede. “The right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants.”
Good call by Judge Hughes regarding a ludicrous edict by a VA bureaucrat.
- Patrick vs Dewhurst for U.S. Senate – Nate Blakeslee, BurkaBlog
Patrick’s hyperactivity the last few days now brings things into focus….
- Texas Freshmen Freaked About Perry Power – Shira Toeplitz, Roll Call Politics
- Texas GOP may change how delegates are assigned in 2012 presidential race – Aman Batheja, PoliTex
- What a day for Houston cancer research: Rice U snares 3 leading scientists – YourWestUNews.com
For better or for worse, the fruits of a Perry policy plan.
- Plan for health care compacts advances – Mark Lisheron, Texas Watchdog
- Beer, liquor retailing bills die in the Legislature – Laylan Copelin, Postcards
- Payday lending changes head to governor – Laylan Copelin, Postcards
- Women's Health Program Stands, but Questions Remain – Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune
Though speculation has swirled that the Women’s Health Program was dead, Camacho said the budget rider has been in the works for weeks, and has been “a closely guarded piece of information.” He said Sens. Bob Deuell, Leticia Van de Putte and Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden have been key to sticking the rider on – though now it has to stay there.
So many journalists running around the lege while the sky was falling, and this stayed under wraps for weeks?
- Conservative "Outsiders" Have Inside Track in Texas – Jay Root, Texas Tribune
Still, this year Perry, Sullivan’s groups and the policy foundation are all united in their demand that the Legislature make staggering spending cuts in education and health care programs without raising taxes or making a big raid on the Rainy Day Fund.
From the looks of it, they have won: The Legislature is on the verge of doing just that, whether it happens now or in a special session this summer.
“Staggering” to whom, journos and liberal advocacy groups? Surely not taxpayers! As reported above, the budget will shrink 8.1% from the last (bloated) budget, and education spending gets a small absolute increase. Those are admittedly unusual numbers given the nonstop growth of the American Leviathan state of the last half century or so, but austerity may now be the new normal. Taxpayers are tapped.
- Perry Gets His Way Again – R.G. Ratcliffe, BurkaBlog
However, tuition deregulation in 2003 dramatically increased the cost of a college education, and it is not being helped in the currently proposed budget by cutting Texas Grants financial aid funding for 41,000 students.
There’s an economic case to be made that the easy flow of money from government to colleges and universities has contributed to the dramatic increase in college education costs, but don’t ever expect to see that perspective from this former Houston Chronicle reporter (now freed to say what he really thinks).
- Texas House Women Angry Over "Despicable" Flyers – Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune
Houstonians were lectured a while back that breastfeeding is beautiful. Breastfeeding as a photo prop protesting the nanny state, perhaps not the best call.