WEEK IN REVIEW
INAUGURATION CEREMONY DRAWS THOUSANDS
(AUSTIN) — Thousands turned out Tuesday, January 18th, for the inauguration ceremonies for Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. The occasion marked the beginning of the third terms for both men. Both inaugural addresses centered around the same theme: balancing the state budget through cuts to spending and not an increase in taxes.
Perry, now the longest serving governor in Texas history, said that conservative principles helped the state weather the worst economy in seventy years. Keeping these principles, he said, will help Texas deal with a $26 billion budget shortfall. "These tough times dictate government doing more with less," he said.
Dewhurst echoed that sentiment in his inaugural address. " In the worst economy in 70 years, with unemployment at its highest in decades, now is not the time to ask families to make do with less so government can spend more," he said. Dewhurst also called on the federal government to send more Border Patrol officials to the Texas/Mexico border, to keep violence from spilling across the Rio Grande.
Wednesday, Dewhurst responded to the preliminary budget unveiled by the House this week. In its current incarnation, the House plan reduces spending for the next biennium by $31 billion in all funds and doesn't use any of the $9 billion in the state's rainy day fund. Dewhurst said the Senate will release its preliminary budget sometime next week, with emphasis on cutting spending while leaving critical social services with enough money to fulfill their missions. "We're going to work hard to make sure we don't spend money we don't have, " he said. "But we're providing that safety net for the vulnerable, elderly, frail, disabled and children and reaching out to help the jobless and the helpless."
Reports indicate that the Senate will take up the contentious voter I.D. issue Monday after Governor Rick Perry added the issue to his list of emergency priorities. Last session, debate over the issue lasted longer than 24 hours in the Senate before the measure was finally passed. Opponents in the House, however, were successful in blocking final passage of the bill.
The Senate will reconvene at Monday, January 24th, at 1:30 p.m.