Confused about the state's budget? Trust us — you’re not alone. The Texas Legislature creates a spending plan every two years, and it takes almost that much time to prepare that plan. This session, lawmakers will set a budget that will be implemented in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 (Sept. 1, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2012). Lawmakers are considering unprecedented cuts in every area of state spending, from public education and health services to public safety. Below is a flow chart to help you understand where we are in the process (what's already done is highlighted in yellow; current status highlighted in green) and what steps are next (highlighted in gray). If you click on the boxes, you'll see we’ve linked to the applicable web sites and documents so that you can take a look for yourself at the bills being considered.
Update (April 5, 2011): The House passed an austere budget on Sunday that would slash $23 billion from what is being spent in the current biennium's budget. Members of the Senate have signaled they will not support such steep reductions to health & human services and education funding. HB 1 is now on its way to the Senate Finance Committee, where Chairman Steve Ogden has indicated the bill will be revised — "marked-up" — over the course of the next couple of weeks before it is sent to the full Senate for consideration. They need two-thirds approval (21 senators) to bring the bill up for a vote and then a simple majority to move it along to conference committee, where a group made up of five senators and five representatives selected by the leadership will develop a compromise bill.