Estes Applauds Senate Budget for Funding Essential Services
BUDGET TALK--State Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo, left, and State Senator Craig Estes of Wichita Falls, right, confer on the Senate floor about specific line items in the proposed state budget to be considered this week by the full Senate. Bivins is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which approved its version of the budget Friday. After the Senate passes its budget for the 2004-05 biennium, budgets adopted by each body will go to a Senate-House conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the finance bill. (Photo courtesy Senate Media Services)
AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) applauded the Senate's version of the 2004-05 biennium budget up for consideration this week by the full Senate.
"This is a budget we can be proud of," Estes said. "The bottom line is that the Senate budget reduces non-core spending and focuses available dollars on core functions."
The Senate Finance Committee approved its version of the budget Friday, and it goes to the full Senate for consideration this week. After the full Senate passes its version of the budget, the Senate version and the House version will go to a Senate-House conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the budget bill.
"Despite the serious finance challenges posed by a $10 billion revenue shortfall, the Senate Finance Committee produced a budget that manages to preserve essential services without raising taxes," Estes said. "The committee did a masterful job of balancing 'needs' against 'wants' and did a commendable job of earmarking appropriations for the core functions of state government."
The Senate's proposed budget for the 2004-05 biennium totals $117.7 billion from all fund sources which represents a 0.4% increase over the 2002-03 budget.
Estes said the Senate budget fully funds public school formulas and growth, restores higher education to an all funds reduction of only 1.3%, maintains Medicaid and CHIP coverage for all eligible children, maintains a strong criminal justice system, increases highway funding and increases funding for health and human services.
"It is generally agreed that the Senate budget is much more compassionate than the House budget, so my hope is that the conference committee will produce a compromise budget that's closer to the Senate version. It's the budget that Texas needs," Estes said.
Estes said he has received steady communications from constituents across Senate District 30 on the budget and other bills being considered during the 78th Texas Legislature. Estes serves nearly 700,000 constituents in Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise and Young counties.
Approximately five weeks remain in the session which is scheduled to conclude June 2.
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