Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Straus Announce 2010-11 State Budget Savings

Tuesday, May 18, 2010  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus today directed the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) staff to notify state agencies to immediately implement budget savings proposals requested by leadership earlier this year. As a result of this action, savings to the current 2010-2011 biennial budget will total approximately $1.2 billion.

"Every penny we save now in the 2010-11 biennium is one penny closer to balancing the budget in the next legislative session," Gov. Perry said. "These reductions reflect our state's ongoing commitment to keeping taxes low by limiting government spending, a key aspect of the continued strength of our state's economy."

In a joint letter on Jan. 15, 2010, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker asked each state agency to submit a plan identifying savings in priority increments totaling 5 percent of general revenue and general revenue-dedicated appropriations for the biennium with exemptions for certain programs. Agencies were also instructed to minimize the impact on direct services and potential employee reductions.

"By tightening our belt just like millions of families and Texas businesses are doing every day across the state, we will help ensure Texas' economy remains the strongest in the nation, while protecting the most vulnerable Texans, promoting job growth and job creation, and keeping all Texans safe," Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. "These savings will protect taxpayers' hard-earned money while maintaining essential services vital to the people of Texas."

After careful review of each agency's savings proposal, several exemptions from the proposed reductions were approved beyond those outlined in the January 2010 letter. Some exemptions include:

• Texas Dept. of Public Safety Homeland and Border Security Funds to continue protecting Texans against all threats;
• State Health Services to maintain state hospital beds;
• Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice to ensure public safety;
• Texas Workforce Commission to maintain job training and job creation programs;
• Higher Education Coordinating Board to maintain increases in student financial aid.

"We cannot afford business as usual, but must make tough choices and put every cost savings idea on the table," Speaker Straus said. "I am confident we are making and will continue to make thoughtful, responsible decisions to balance our budget, and with the right steps now, we will see continued growth and prosperity for Texas in the future."

Fiscal Year 2010 funds saved through these budget reductions will be placed in specially created savings accounts set up by the Texas Comptroller's Office and allowed to lapse, leaving those funds available in the next budget cycle. Leadership will continue to closely monitor the Texas economy and state revenues. Each agency's savings plan will be further reviewed through the budget process during the 82nd Legislature, and each may be directed to achieve additional savings or granted additional exemptions.

To view the list of agency savings targets, please visit http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/External_Links/Expenditure_Reductions/Reductions_With_Adjustments_Targets_0510.pdf.

To view the list of agency exemptions, please visit http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/External_Links/Expenditure_Reductions/Approved_Exemptions_0510.pdf.

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