Picking On Family Planning
The House is taking up the 371 pre-filed state budget amendments article by article. There are 11 articles in the budget, although Article 11 is mostly a repository for projects that are not going to get funding.
The debate on Article I (general government, like the Governor's Office, Attorney General, etc.) was highlighted buy an amendment that took nearly all funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts and moved it to the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
But once the page turned to Article II, Republicans began offering a handful of amendments that siphoned money away from family planning services to other health-related programs like child mental health and autism services.
The amendment authors, all Republicans, said the programs were dramatically cut in the current budget and they were just trying to restore some of that money.
Democrats countered that while each program was very worthy of state assistance, the debate should be on how to raise new revenue to pay for all the critical needs in the state. Not to, as one lawmaker put it, "rob Peter to pay Paul."
The combined amendments are expected to drain about $70 million from family planning services. Leaving only about $30 million for those programs.