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January 10, 2001     (512) 463-0300

Senate Finance, House Appropriations Chairs
Introduce 2002-2003 Budget Recommendation

AUSTIN - Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston and San Angelo Rep. Rob Junell on Wednesday, January 10, announced the introduction of the Texas General Appropriations Bill for the 2002 2003 biennium.

The General Appropriations Bill sets budgets for every state agency and outlines the state's general spending priorities for the next two-year budget period.

Ellis, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said the $108.2 billion budget proposal takes into account both current economic factors as well as future considerations.

"This budget reflects the realities of a strong but possibly cooling economy," Senator Ellis said. "It allows us to meet the basic needs of Texas for the next two years while tackling several important challenges that impact our future."

Junell, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the proposal will serve as a vehicle for legislators in both chambers to use to craft final legislation setting the state's next two-year budget.

"The State of Texas can run smoothly on this budget," Rep. Junell said. "It makes the right investments and sets forth the priorities of the Legislature for the next two years. Over the next few months we will work together to make a good budget even better."

The introduced bill dedicates the bulk of the budget to education and health and human services, which together account for almost 75 percent of the total. The $108.2 billion represents a 6.2 percent increase compared with the current budget.

"There are several important priorities I look forward to working to address this session," Ellis said, "including increasing funding for the TEXAS Grants Program, providing health insurance to our hard-working Texas teachers, giving state employees a pay raise and maximizing participation in the CHIP program."

But Ellis and Junell said the House and Senate will have to carefully weigh priorities during the legislative process.

"Unfortunately, there are more bright ideas than there are dollars to pay for them," Ellis said. "We have to make tough decisions and fund initiatives that will help build a stronger foundation for Texas."

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