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Shrinking the state budget easier said than done

The Austin American Statesman

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Many Texas lawmakers have offered voters election-year platitudes when asked about fixes for next year's budget shortfall - expected to be more than $11 billion .

They promise that the state will tighten its belt, trim the fat and scrub the budget of all nonessentials - just as they did in 2003 when the state was in a $10 billion fiscal pickle.

It will take political will and some discipline, many Republican leaders say, but it will not take new taxes.

But fulfilling that promise could be a formidable task, if the state's recent budget experience is any indication. The most touted budget-shrinking initiatives have rarely lived up to the political hype of providing better state services for less. And the promised savings have often proved elusive.

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