WEEK IN REVIEW
SENATE OPENS 80TH SESSION
(AUSTIN) — The Senate of the State of Texas began its 80th Legislative session Tuesday, January 9, welcoming five new members to its ranks. Senators Robert Nichols of Jacksonville, Dan Patrick of Houston, Glenn Hegar of Katy, Kirk Watson of Austin and Carlos Uresti of San Antonio make up the 2007 freshman class of the Senate.
The Senate also unanimously elected Houston Senator Mario Gallegos as President Pro Tempore for the 80th Regular Session. As President Pro Tem, Gallegos is third in line for the office of Governor, and acts as Governor whenever the Lt. Governor and Governor are out of the state. Gallegos pledged to work for bipartisanship to ensure that the Senate accomplishes the business of Texas. " Members, I look forward to working with each and every one of you, this coming session of the Legislature, to bridge our differences and unite for a better tomorrow for all Texans," he said.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst weighed in this week on what the Comptroller's projected $14 billion dollar revenue increase means for the budget this session. He was quick to dispel ideas that the state had a $14 billion budget surplus, saying the government must make good on the property tax cut it passed in the last special session. " We've got to make sure that over the next four years we deliver on our promises. We promised that we were going to deliver a little over $14 billion in tax cuts to homeowners and I feel very, very committed to making sure that that happens", he said.
Dewhurst said that the state has enough money to cover the local school property tax cuts and balance the budget. In order to ensure a balanced budget for future biennia, he said the Legislature must be fiscally responsible with the surplus it does have.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, January 16, at 10 a.m. for the Governor's Inaugural Ceremony to be held on the south grounds of the Capitol.