AUSTIN - The Senate reconvened January 15, 2003 for a slow second day of the 78th Legislative Session. After adopting several Resolutions of recognition, Senator Whitmire's amendment to give each house permission to adjourn beginning January 16 and ending January 21, 2003 was also passed. Session was adjourned and will reconvene tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. to recess to the House Chamber.
Immediately following the Session, Lieutenant Governor-Elect David Dewhurst held a press conference to discuss the budget situation. "I'm very, very confident that we've got the ability, we've got the dedication, and 31 fine members of the Texas Senate to be able to balance our budget, to be able to keep our taxes low, and to address quite a few of the challenges that we have in front of us," said Dewhurst.
Dewhurst said he is looking forward to next Tuesday, January 21, 2003, when he will be inaugurated as Lieutenant Governor.
The incoming Lieutenant Governor said that the Senate will "take action to slow down spending in the State and create unencumbered balances that can be used to balance our fiscal year 2003." He said it will take several months and it will be a thorough and methodical process and, if they are successful, they can create certain cash balances to last until next biennium. Dewhurst promised not to reduce essential services that the people of Texas need and deserve and to provide these services more efficiently and economically.
Dewhurst also addressed school finance reform and expects to make progress this session in this area. He believes education should not be financed on the back of property taxes and he will present his proposal of zero-interest loans for high school students with a B-average, which will be forgiven if they graduate from college on time with at least a B-average. They will also look over Comptroller Strayhorn's $230 million proposal to give more middle class families the chance to go to college.