Austin - Sunshine and blue skies welcomed Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst during inauguration ceremonies which began at noon, January 21, 2003, on the front steps of the Capitol.
In his inaugural address, incoming Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst promised a pro-family, pro-growth agenda. "Together we can open the doors of opportunity for all," Dewhurst said in both English and Spanish. "Together," said Dewhurst, "we will turn the challenges before us into opportunities."
Governor Rick Perry repeated the inaugural theme of "One Star, One Future, One Texas" in his address. "We cannot rest until the opportunities enjoyed by some are the opportunities open to all," said Perry. "Limited government--focused rather than unwieldy, clear in priorities," the Governor continued, "that's the government Texans have voted for and expect from their leaders."
David Dewhurst took the reins on Wednesday, January 22, 2003, for his first official day as Lieutenant Governor. Dewhurst said he looked forward to working with the Senate and gaveled in the session with "Now, let's get to work."
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.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, January 27, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.