The Big Conversation
The Legislative Budget Board wrote Tuesday that some of Gov. Greg Abbott's budget vetoes might not count.
The vetoes sought to delete certain "riders" attached to the budget, but LBB Director Ursula Parks wrote in a letter to the state comptroller that Abbott's veto proclamation "seeks to go beyond what is authorized in the Texas Constitution [and] is in many respects unprecedented."
The Tribune's Ross Ramsey has more on the letter:
It says, in effect, that the governor vetoed items in the budget that he doesn't have the power to veto, an assertion Parks sourced back to Abbott himself [from his days as attorney general]. In his proposed budget earlier this year, Abbott said that he wanted to expand the governor's line-item veto authority and suggested amending the state constitution to take care of that. The Legislature made no such amendment.
“The implication in this statement supports the analysis that the Constitution currently provides limited and specific authority in this area; authority that the Proclamation seeks to extend,” Parks wrote.
At issue are budget "riders" — directions to state agencies that are included in the budget but that do not actually make any appropriations. The LBB cited a 1975 opinion from the Texas Supreme Court that said governors have the power to veto appropriations, but not riders.
Abbott's office didn't respond to a request for comment, but his office wrote in an informal memo last month that the vetoes were allowed and that lawmakers can't shield certain budget items from a veto by using "magic words [like] a 'rider, a 'goal, a 'strategy' or anything else."
And to put this story in a broader context, Ramsey takes a look at what the budget fight means for the ongoing struggles over who controls state government.
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Quote to Note
"The greatest risk to this Iranian deal, it is that millions of Americans will be murdered by radical theocratic zealots."
— U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz tells reporters the worst-case scenarios of Iran acquiring and using a nuclear weapon following the international agreement this month on Iran's nuclear program
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• The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin