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February 8, 2021      5:09 PM

A sense of relief as Senate Finance begins to dig into Texas budget

Better budget numbers than expected and federal funding, current and expected, have lifted the spirts of the state’s budget writers

The Texas Senate Finance Committee meeting Monday morning was not just about the budget – lawmakers were laying the predicate for quite a few key themes of the session.

The general mood of today’s meeting was relief: Relief that an anticipated deficit hole in the current budget had been minimized. Relief last session’s Wayfair legislation – collecting sales tax on online purchases – had managed to cut the state’s retail tax collection losses in half this biennium.

And while members may have differing priorities, there’s a sense of relief that the Senate will come to a collective agreement on a budget document.

Chair Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has helmed the budget writing committee since 2015. Prior chairmen, Nelson said, often would refer to the budget as “their budget.”

“This is not my budget. This is your budget. And this, as I said, is a starting point,” Nelson told her colleagues. “We are going to work together with people from the people, and with each other.”

Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, captured the general mood best.

By Kimberly Reeves

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