As a fragile and complex budget deal drew fire from some Republican members of the House on Friday afternoon, Gov. Rick Perry has revealed his opposition to one portion of a bill central to that deal.
Issues with the bill must be resolved by midnight or the budget deal could fall apart.
Budget leaders in the House and Senate are working out differences on House Bill 1025, a supplemental spending bill that has become pivotal in a broader budget deal approved last week. The $5.4 billion bill includes tapping $1.75 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to undo an accounting gimmick lawmakers employed last year to make the budget appear balanced.
Perry’s office came out against that part of the bill on Friday afternoon, telling The Texas Tribune that the Legislature already found a way to pay to undo that accounting gimmick in House Bill 10, a spending bill Perry signed in March.
"As the House and Senate negotiate the final provisions in HB 1025, the governor does not believe it is a good idea to use the Rainy Day Fund to pay for a deferral that has already been paid for by a bill he signed earlier in the session using general revenue,” Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said.
When he laid out the new version of HB 1025 on the floor of the Senate earlier this week, Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, described the decision to tap $1.75 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for the school payment as a byproduct of the overall negotiations to forge a budget deal that included an amount of tax relief that both chambers could agree on.
From the House floor on Friday, House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, told House members he was not going to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill. Pitts said the House and Senate had to come to a compromise version and file the conference committee report by midnight tonight or the budget deal could fall apart.