Budget cut agreement reached - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Budget cut agreement reached

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - From public safety to education, we now have a clearer picture of what state budget cuts will look like. Thursday the House and Senate Conference Committee struck an agreement on how to save a total of more than $15 billion.

Almost no agency was spared. Cuts even hit the sacred cow of public safety. The Department of Criminal Justice is losing $100 million.

"No mater what the budget, our priority is public safety and protecting the public and their safety," TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said.

They'll cope by closing a unit near Houston, ending a rehabilitation program and laying off 400 administrative employees. State funding for DPS was also cut in half, but extra federal money will more than make up for that.

Education is being slashed by almost $1 billion. Most of that is in higher ed where about 41,000 students are expected to lose scholarships. But money for elementary, middle and high school is actually slightly increasing.

The largest cut came to health and human services at more than $11 billion. A big chunk of that is for medicaid where they'll cut back on reimbursements to hospitals.

Overall local law makers say this budget was the best of a worst case scenario.

"I think we've done a good job with it. We funded the areas we needed to, and made deep cuts in some areas. It is what it is and we did not raise taxes," State Representative Warren Chisum said. 

This compromised version is supposed to be passed through both chambers this weekend and on the governor's desk Monday.