Texas requesting agencies to cut budgets by 5 percent

(Texas News Radio) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen are requesting state agencies and universities to submit cost savings plans to reduce spending by five percent for the current budget biennium.

In letter to agency leaders, the state leaders are asking the proposals not affect the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Preferably, they would like the cost reductions be done through postponing capital expenditures that can be delayed and reducing administrative costs, like avoidable travel expenditures.

The letter excludes the following agencies or services from these cut requests:

  • Appropriations to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Military Department; and the Texas Department of Public Safety;
  • Funding for debt service requirements and bond authorizations;
  • Current law requirements for the Foundation School Program and school safety;
  • Funding for Child Protective Services;
  • Benefits and eligibility levels in Medicaid programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the foster care program, the adoption subsidies program, the permanency care assistance program, and services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities;
  • Funding for behavioral health service programs;
  • Appropriations for Correctional Security Operations and Correctional Managed Health Care at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice;
  • Appropriations to Health Related Institutions and Community Colleges; and
  • Employer Contributions to the Teacher Retirement System and Employees Retirement System funds and to Social Security.

“As Texans recover from this pandemic, it is incumbent that state government continues to maintain mission critical services without placing a greater burden on taxpayers,” reads the letter. “We are confident that Texas will get back to work and continue leading the nation in job growth, economic innovation, and business creation. However, it will take months until we know the true extent of the economic ramifications of COVID-19, and how combating this virus will impact state finances. To prepare for this economic shock, we must take action today to ensure that the state can continue providing the essential government services that Texans expect.”

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