“This session was the most difficult one I have participated in since I first came to the legislature in 2005”, said Hubert Vo. The legislature began in Austin in January facing a $27 billion budget shortfall and the prospect of making huge budget cuts in order to balance our state budget for the years 2012-2013.
At a recent meeting with constituents, Representative Vo made the following remarks on the budget that the legislature passed.
The sessions are over and the budget was passed and it is balanced……but at what cost? I believe that in times like these you have to set priorities and make prudent decisions about cuts. I am convinced the choices the legislature made concerning the state budget will have a profound and negative effect on this state. Besides making deep budget cuts, the budget failed to fund any growth in public education and universities even though Texas’ child population grew by 16.6% in the latest census.
“It is our highest priority to keep our state’s economy strong and a major part of that is to invest in education. In my opinion the legislature, in this session, made decisions that continued to shortchange both public and higher education of our children. Without an educated population and workforce how can we maintain a strong economy and have a good quality of life for all of us?”
Under the new budget, public schools will receive $4 billion less than current law allocated. Other programs will be impacted by cuts and reductions. Career and technology, special education, technology allotment and pre-kindergarten are among them. At this time, before the new budget, Texas is 42nd among all states in total expenditures per pupil and we are last in the number of people 25 years old and over who have completed high school. We must do better!
Higher education was cut by 13%. Student financial aid programs were cut which will result in 43,000 fewer students receiving aid.
Texas has a shortage of primary physicians but the new budget slashes funding for medical schools and residency training.
Healthcare services for children, seniors and people with disabilities among others failed to be funded for any growth of caseloads.
In difficult financial times it is necessary to make tough decisions but education and health care for our people is so important that we must provide the resources necessary.