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Top Morning Stories January 25, 2011

Photo by KUT News.
The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday.

Texas Senate Releases Its Draft Budget Proposal

First the House, now the Senate has released its projected cuts. The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday, following the House's first draft budget released last week.  It's $2.3 billion bigger than the House proposal at $158.7 billion. 

Some of the major differences are:

  • The Senate draft proposes cutting 8,167 state jobs. The House proposes axing over 9,000 state jobs by the end of 2013.
  • While the House proposes cutting public education spending by $9.8 billion, the Senate draft proposes cutting it by $9.3 billion
  • The House proposal would cut funding for four community colleges.  The Senate proposal as it is right now would not.

Both proposals do not raise taxes and they do not dip into the state's $9.4 billion Rainy Day Fund. You can dig deeper into the proposals on the Legislative Budget Board's site.

Public Hearing Today on Voter ID

The Texas Senate is holding a public hearing this morning to discuss voter ID legislation.  It would require voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot at the polls. The Dallas Morning News reports a vote on the bill could come as early as today or tomorrow.

AISD Votes to Lay Off Workers

Austin Independent School District board members voted last night to eliminate 485 positions, mostly teaching positions. The layoffs are to help the district cover a projected $113 million shortfall. The district says it would save $26.5 million through the layoffs; that's only a quarter of the budget shortfall.