House boosts transportation in $210B spending plan


AUSTIN - The state would spend billions of dollars on gaping needs including transportation but leave billions more on the table, partly in anticipation of tax cuts, under a proposal backed Tuesday by House budget writers. The $209.8 billion, two-year budget proposal approved 24-0 by the House Appropriations Committee quickly revived the debate over investing in state programs versus cutting taxes. The clash of budget priorities also will be highlighted this week in the Senate, which plans to consider a proposal Wednesday to cut more than $4.6 billion in business taxes and school property taxes. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, praised the chamber's proposed budget as a "responsible, disciplined plan" that addresses education and transportation, increases transparency and "will allow the House to provide meaningful tax relief." When it comes to addressing congested roads, both House and Senate leaders support adding $1.3 billion by ensuring all the money in the state highway fund goes to transportation.

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