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Dueling Sides of the Texas Budget Debate Make Noise at the Capitol

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Photo by KUT News
American's for Prosperity-Texas leader Peggy Venable warns lawmakers to cut state spending.

Political battles are often fought on the right or left of a topic.  But today ideology was divided by the North and South sides of the Capitol.  

On the South side: State employees, educators, healthcare providers and a few other groups marched a few blocks from Waterloo Park to the South steps, calling on the Texas Senate to fix what they consider major problems with the House version of the state budget.  Senate budget writers already hope to spend about $10 billion more than the House did, even going so far as to create a subcommittee to specifically look for ways to increase non-tax revenue to pay for those increases.

On the North side: Speakers representing a handful of conservative groups warned the Senate to do as the House already has and not add any additional funds back into the budget. From Americans For Prosperity-Texas to the Waco Tea Party, each speaker pointed out that grassroots Republicans don't want higher taxes, fees or the rainy day fund used to pay for any of this budget.

For the moment, senators still seem inclined to pass a larger budget than the House. Where today's dueling rallies could have a real effect is whether or not any House members are willing to vote for more spending, if an expected House-Senate conference committee comes up with larger budget.

For now most House Republicans and all of those who align themselves with the Tea Party have publicly said they will not vote for a budget that spends additional money.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.