in Houston, Texas
Texas state officials want billions more for schools, health, roads; transportation official floats doubling of vehicle registration fees
Friday, Feb 03, 2012, 12:09PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Texas state Capitol

My, my, my, the hands of begging bureaucrats are out awfully early. 

First, there was Tom Suehs, executive commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, saying he’s going to need as much as $17 billion more to run Medicaid.

Then Robert Scott, Texas education commissioner, said he just has to have more money to help struggling students and to pay for the school accountability system the Legislature called for.

And what if we nearly doubled vehicle registration fees to raise $14 billion for transportation projects, Ted Houghton, chairman of the state Transportation Commission, suggested to a transportation gathering in Euless.

Barrett Strong had a better groove, but Houghton was just as direct. “We need revenue,” he told the group.

All this grubbing and almost a year before the Texas Legislature comes back to Austin.

Suehs says Medicaid needs the money because the Legislature didn’t adequately fund the program in an effort to balance the budget in the last session. Scott is overseeing a public education system riven with lawsuits contending the Legislature was negligent in its funding.

Education and social service officials in Texas are always complaining about their woeful financial situations. But when the generally well-heeled Department of Transportation is out trying to tap taxpayers for billions this early the Legislature is going to have its work cut out for it.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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