AUSTIN – The Republican-led Legislature plunged into the opening round of writing a new state budget Monday as leaders in the House and Senate released separate initial spending plans that drew quick attacks from critics for failing to restore more than $5 billion in education cuts imposed by lawmakers two years ago.
House leaders are calling for $187.7 billion in spending over the next two years, while the Senate version proposes $186.8 million.
Reflecting a directive from Gov. Rick Perry, the budgets essentially take a hold-the-line approach to spending and are substantially below robust revenue projections available to lawmakers for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal biennium, which starts in Sept. 1. The Senate proposes a $3.1 billion, or 1.6 percent, decrease from current spending while the House would cut spending by $2.2 billion or 1.2 percent.