AUSTIN, Texas -- The only bill state lawmakers must pass each session is headed to the full Senate. And budget-writers in the upper chamber have found an extra $2.5 billion to help pay for services.
The additional money comes from using an accounting trick to delay a payment to the state highway fund.
That move is not sitting well with House Speaker Joe Straus. He called it "cooking the books" and criticized Senators for not wanting to tap into the $12 billion Rainy Day Fund to help in lean times.
“Counting money twice in order to balance a budget is not a good idea,” Straus said. “This is the Texas Legislature. We aren’t Enron.”
The Senate’s chief budget writer responded to Straus’ comments.
"This is a smart money management decision that allows us to responsibly meet our needs without raiding the Rainy Day Fund" Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said.
Here are some other highlights from the Senate's roughly $106 Billion budget approved in committee Wednesday.
• It keeps the status quo on public school funding.
• The proposed budget also continues spending $800 million on border security...
• It puts more dollars into the state's troubled child welfare system.
The full Senate is expected to take up the budget on Tuesday.