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Monday, January 14, 2013

LEGISLATIVE SESSION OPENS WITH BETTER BUDGET NEWS, MORE DOCTORS IN THE HOUSE

Just like 2011, the Texas Legislature convened this year with a host of new members filling the chairs and House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) easily winning reelection. But unlike two years ago, when lawmakers had the challenge of balancing the state budget with a $27 billion shortfall, the budget picture is now much brighter. Comptroller Susan Combs is forecasting an $8.8 billion surplus for this budget cycle; she said lawmakers should have $101.4 billion to spend for the 2014-15 biennium. The budget surplus could go fast as legislators have to contend with a $4.7 billion shortfall in the current Medicaid budget before they start tackling the next two-year budget. And Gov. Rick Perry told lawmakers the rosier budget picture should make them start thinking of tax relief rather than increased spending. “For the sake of all Texas taxpayers, we must control the appetite for more spending,” he said. In this video edition of TMA Legislative News Hotline, TMA lobbyists Darren Whitehurst and Dan Finch discuss what it means that a record eight physician and TMA Alliance members took the oath of office at the start of the 83rd session.


 

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