AUSTIN - In an impromptu meeting with members of the press after today's session, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst proposed a freeze on foreign travel, hiring, and certain capital expenditures in an effort to reduce state spending.
His goal is to ask for a seven percent reduction in spending in fiscal year 2003, which will result in a savings of $500-$700 million. "We need to generate some cash, pay off some of the notes, and any money that we're able to save during fiscal year '03 goes towards helping to fund additional programs in '04 and '05," said Dewhurst. He plans to exempt Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Foundation School Program from budget cuts.
Senator Teel Bivins from Amarillo, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, also spoke to the press, saying "we're going to ask state agencies to justify every dollar they spend, and when we're in tough economic times, I think that's a legitimate approach." Bivins supports Governor Perry's proposal of a zero-based budget, saying that in 1991, then Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock did the same thing by introducing a budget that started at zero and was rebuilt one program at a time.
During today's session, members of Leadership Lufkin were honored when the Senate passed Resolution 52 and declared it Lufkin Day at the Capitol. The resolution was presented by Senator Todd Staples from Palestine.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, January 27, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.