Shapleigh vs. the Budget
Democrat Sen. Eliot Shapleigh took a stand against a budget that he says values tax cuts for the wealthy over the children of Texas.
By Richard Whittaker,
11:33PM, Thu. Apr. 12, 2007
Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, put his mouth where the money was today and voted against Senate Bill 1, the Senate finance bill that sets the budget for the state for the next two years.
This was scarcely a surprise - nor was the bill's passage by 26-5. The bill kept in place Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's budget proposal that, no matter how much or how little extra revenue the state manages to raise over the last budget, the first $3.9 billion would cover property tax cuts in 2008-2009 and the next $3 billion to pay for them in 2010-2011.
Shapleigh has always been against the Dewhurst plan. The budget that kept it in place, while not tackling what legislators from both parties have consistently called massive, historic and systemic underfunding of agencies statewide. Yet for Shapleigh, it was the failures to really fund education, child health, and juvenile justice that really galled. "Today, with a $14.3 billion surplus," he told the Senate, "SB 1 tells the children of Texas that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than you."