The only piece of legislation that Texas lawmakers are required to pass each session is the budget, which they did. Gov. Greg Abbott signed off on the two-year, $217 billion budget Monday, but not before using his line-item veto to cut nearly $120 million from various programs.
“In terms of raw numbers, Abbott’s cuts were pretty small,” says Texas Tribune reporter Edgar Walters. “In the total budget that’s only about one twentieth of one percent, but if you look where the programs really got cut, it was mostly programs dealing with the environment.”
The biggest cut – $87 million – went to the state’s Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance Program.
“It helps low-income Texans in certain cities make repairs to their vehicles if they fail an emissions test,” Walters says. “The idea being if you have a better performing car, you’ll have better air quality.”
Abbott said the program had done little to improve air quality in the state, comparing it to President Barack Obama’s Cash for Clunkers program, which Abbott said was “ill-conceived and dubious.”
Walters says the other cuts, although smaller, were still symbolic.
Abbott cut $6 million for another air quality program that would pay for bicycle use programs, carpooling awareness campaigns and other environmental issues.
“He basically said those programs, in his opinion, are a waste of state dollars and if cities want to keep them, they can pay for them out of their own budget,” Walters says.
Written by Molly Smith.