Aug 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas GOP leaders: Funding for state legislature extended after Abbott veto

Photo of Greg Abbott and Chris Paddie sitting at a table with the American flag behind them

Photo: Montinique Monroe via Getty Images

Texas GOP leaders said Friday they've extended "an additional month of funding" for the state legislature after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vetoed at least $12.6 million that would have gone to 2,100 state workers, the Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Following Texas Democrats' departure from the state, which broke quorum in the regular session, Abbott vetoed a section of the state budget that funds the legislature, its staff and legislative agencies. Texas Democrats have sued Abbott over the action.

Details: Legislative employees and agencies will remain funded through Sept. 30 instead of Sept. 1, when the next two-year state budget takes effect.

  • The funding will be transferred from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to the Senate and House.

State of play: The Legislative Budget Board cited an emergency in its request for the transfer of funds, according to the Tribune.

  • "[F[unding should not be provided for those who quit their jobs early and leave the state with unfinished business, exposing taxpayers to higher costs for additional legislative sessions," Abbott wrote in an Aug. 6 memo responding to the board's proposal.
  • "However, in order to ensure the Legislature is fully resourced to do the work of the next special session, I recognize that the partial restoration the Legislative Budget Board had proposed is necessary," added Abbott, who had placed restoration of legislature funding on the first and second special session agendas.

The move does not "change the fact that [Abbott’s veto] ... is a violation of the separation of powers and a disgraceful effort to hold the public employees of our state as hostages," state Rep. Chris Turner, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement to the Tribune.

Worth noting: It's so far unclear whether enough members will show up to the second special session to conduct official House businesses.

  • If enough do, lawmakers could pass a supplemental budget that would restore funding. Abbott would still need to sign off though.

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