5/29/2011 11:46 PM
Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) filibustered the fiscal matters bill -- SB 1811 -- tonight arguing that it does not provide sufficient funding for education. Senators may attempt to suspend the rules tomorrow to take up the bill. If the suspension motion fails, the bill dies, forcing a special session.
"I'm personally very disappointed. We put a lot of effort into SB 1811, and the school finance bill is something we worked on all session," said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. "I hope that Sen. Davis's actions don't result in less funding for our schools. I hope this doesn't get reopened in the House." Dewhurst added that "this puts the budget in a crisis."
"Those in charge have asked us to make irresponsible choices, in allowing special interests to preserve taxpayer-funded loopholes while telling educators, students, and working families that we just can't afford to educate Texans," Davis said. "... Cutting $4 billion in state funding for public education will result in thousands of educator job losses, overcrowded classrooms, and it will put an end toour state-funded pre-kindergarten programs."
Davis called for the state to use at least $3 billion more in economic stabilization growth money and close $1 billion worth of what she calls "tax loopholes."
Davis's actions mean that portions of the state budget may have to get redone. When asked by the press corps whether the budget would get better in a special session, Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) said," I think that if we're given more time, greater transparency, if the people of Texas are focused on ... whether or not we're willing to write off a generation of Texas children, I think that will make a difference."
Meanwhile, over in the House, SB 1811 did pass but the debate resulted in a lot of other related bills dying. It was graveyard day in the Texas Legislature.