County Leaders Fear State Budget Cuts

County Leaders Fear State Budget Cuts
Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:17am

EL PASO - City and county leaders have called a news conference today to sound the alarm over proposed state budget cuts.

Mayor John Cook will share the impact the state budget will have on the City of El Paso. Each entity will outline the multi-million dollar cuts they will face should the Texas legislature implement HB 1, the budget bill. This financial information is being shared with the El Paso delegation to ensure they have the tools to help minimize the devastating cuts.

El Paso County and the various entities crunched numbers over the weekend and will have the financials ready this afternoon's conference.

Among other things, the state is proposing a $10 billion cut to public education while our schools are seeing increased numbers and cuts to Medicaid providers by 10%, which means less funding to doctors and hospitals, especially those serving indigent communities such as El Paso.

There is finally acknowledgement that the state’s $9 billion rainy day fund may need to be utilized, but that would only address the current fiscal year’s deficit – not the next biennium budget legislators are working on.

Local governments, such as El Paso County, have made severe cuts and dipped into their reserves to address budget shortfalls. Any additional burdens by the State of Texas will only serve to further overwhelm local property taxpayers.

“Our goal is to arm our State delegation with specific numbers about the drastic impact our local governments will face should the current budget be passed,” stated County Judge Veronica Escobar. “We ask that the State look at alternative methods of reducing their potential $27 billion dollar shortfall and not simply place the burden on local governments through cuts and unfunded mandates. We are encouraging all other government and nonprofit entities receiving State funding to evaluate the impact they may feel and share those figures with their State delegation.”

We will have details on this afternoon's news conference on NewsChannel 9 at 5 and 6pm.

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