Time to end the budget misery (Updated)

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst tried to clarify his stance on the Rainy Day Fund with a long statement issued by his office this afternoon, most likely after having his ears pinned back by angry Republican senators.

Dewhurst said he can support spending another $3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, after all, but only if the economy doesn’t grow enough during the next budget period to increase anticipated state revenue.

Even then, the Senate budget would still cut $4 billion from public education. It’s a bad bill, and senators should still oppose it. (My original posting, based on Dewhurst’s Rainy Day statement yesterday, follows.)

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s decision to throw Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee under the bus on the Rainy Day Fund was surprising and doubtlessly made Dewhurst the target of some angry senatorial comments (in private, of course). Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the lieutenant governor’s office or the Senate caucus room.

I am referring, of course, to Dewhurst’s comments to reporters yesterday that he was surprised by and disagreed with the Senate Finance Committee’s support for spending another $3 billion of the Rainy Day Fund to help pay for a state budget that doesn’t cut as deeply into education, health care and other critical services as the House’s budget plan.

All but one Republican on the Finance Committee voted for the Senate budget bill, and, until yesterday, there was hope that Dewhurst was independent enough to part company with Gov. Perry and House Republican leaders, who have been insisting all session that the remainder of the Rainy Day Fund is to be left untouched. That is one reason the House budget would cut $8 billion from the public schools during 20122013, while the Senate bill would cut “only” $4 billion.

Dewhurst’s comments, nevertheless, have made an extremely bad budgetary outlook even worse. And, they are all the more reason for people who care about public education to urge their senators to vote against bringing up the budget bill for debate. Senators may get that opportunity as early as tomorrow.

Let’s let this publicbedamned, shortsighted effort at budgetwriting crash and burn, and let’s take our chances with a summer special session.

Who knows? Maybe one of our alleged state “leaders” will even miraculously grow up.

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