in Houston, Texas
But what about granny? Texas officials tell state agencies not to ask for budget increases.
Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012, 12:08PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Kiss of Death

Cue "Kiss of Death" villain Tommy Udo to get ready to push the old lady in the wheelchair down the stairs. Officials are telling state agencies to expect their budgets to be frozen in 2014-15 or even further cut.

The Governor’s budget office and the Legislative Budget Board called on agencies to submit their biennial budgets with bottom lines no greater than the budgets approved by the Legislature for 2012-13, the Dallas Morning News reports today.

Exceptions to these budget limits include maintaining funding for the Foundation School Program. As you might recall from this past legislative session, warnings were sounded that babies and thousands of teachers would be thrown out with the bathwater that was the 2012-13 budget.

Although it didn’t quite work out that way, public school budgets were tightened by billions of dollars overall.

Budget officials said Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, foster and permanency care and adoption programs were exempt. Enough taxpayer money will be made available for the state pension and employee group benefits systems and to service state debt.

Should the budget outlook deteriorate later this year, agencies could be asked to make cuts to their 2013 budgets, which kick in beginning Sept. 1, the Austin American-Statesman says.

Agencies must also provide a contingency plan for a reduction of 10 percent of the budgets they submit.

The directive does not provide direction for the charging of fees or licensing, which invariably increases when tax revenues decrease.

Nor does it suggest how many wheelchair-bound seniors will need to be pushed into traffic or how many infants must be hurled into the streets to accomplish these budget goals. Expect these details to be provided by various advocacy groups as the start of the 2013 session of the Legislature nears.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo from the 1947 film noir "Kiss of Death."

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