Proposed state budget cuts

College student Tony Collins
College student Tony Collins

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Tony Collins is mostly an A student at West Texas A and M. In addition to working, he pays for school through financial aid and without that:

"I wouldn't be going to college. I'd be working. Honestly, it's given me so much help," he said.

But those state financial aid programs might be at risk under a set of proposed budget cuts released Tuesday by Republican representatives in the House. It's their plan to make up for a massive budget shortfall without impacting public safety at all or raising taxes

Also in education, community colleges like AC, Clarendon and Frank Phillips would see a five percent cut. The average class size in Texas elementary classrooms would go up and many non-teacher positions in schools could be consolidated.

But these proposed cuts move far beyond just education. Almost every non safety related agency would have 30 percent of the general revenue funding cut.  Then there's even more directed cuts at programs considered non-essential, like 8.8 million at the Texas commission on the arts.

All state employees also face a 10-percent pay cut and furloughs. Some lawmakers even estimate the other budget reductions would translate to about 8,000 government workers being laid off.

"If you take a look at some of the smaller towns, it may have a local effect, a rather dramatic local effect, particularly if the leading employer is a state corrections facility, and they lay off even 10 percent of those employees there," Political Science Professor Dave Rauch said.

Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa co-chaired the task force that produced this budget draft. He says:

"Our purpose is to illustrate that there is at least one path to overcoming the shortfall without raising taxes. Our report should be taken as one set of proposals from which budget writers can choose "

To read the whole proposal and the logic behind each cut look under related links.