Visualizing Days of Lege Debate: The Budget

Figuring out how to finance the 2012-2013 biennium with a revenue shortfall and cover Texas’ multi-billion dollar deficit in the current biennium was the subject of many heated debates in the 82nd legislative session. The ultimate result: $15 billion in spending cuts for 2012-2013. Use the visualization and transcript highlights provided below to find what lawmakers said during the tensest days of budget negotiations. An overview of the "Visualizing Days of Debate" series can be found here with a brief tutorial on how to interpret the graphs.

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Highlights from the House

March 31, 2011House Gives Early OK to Bills Balancing '11 Budget

"Since we are cutting and using this vehicle to cut from our colleges and universities, I think it's incumbent upon the members to try to find innovative ways to put the funding back into those colleges and universities," — Rep. Ruth McClendon, D-San Antonio

April 1, 2011House Budget Shrinks Spending, Slashes Services

"This budget does not raise taxes. It does not rely on any spending, any new tax revenue to pay for programs and for services. This budget does not spend any federal stimulus money," — Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie

May 6, 2011House Sets Budget Negotiating Rules

"But what we've been told is to count on, through the Comptroller, at least a four-year situation where we are going to be in a limited revenue situation," — Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands

May 18, 2011Texas Budget Stalls Over Education, Funding Sources

"And your budget, as proposed, has what I would call, for lack of a better term, essentially the accounting, some deferrals and putting off and stuff, but has euphemistically been referred to as mimicking or smoking mirrors?" —Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine

May 21, 2011Texas Budget Update: House Passes Key Bill

"Acting generously to the poor is a loan to God. As you are deliberating by what to do with the budget problems that face our state and how to prioritize spending, I ask that you consider what the impact will be on those who have the least in accordance with the scripture," — Rabbi Terry Baker

May 28, 2011Liveblog: Texas Legislature Passes $15 Billion In Cuts

"When we passed this budget, it would be the second session in a row we have cut state spending by more than a billion dollars. That has never happened in this state's history. But, let me tell you about what this budget also does, it funds the core area Texans expect their government to provide," — Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie

June 10, 2011After 16 Hours, Texas House Passes Fiscal Bill

"I want to make sure we're clearly understanding where you're saying we're going to be short when we get back. We are reducing about 4 billion dollars of public education over the next two years," — Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman

Highlights from the Senate

February 23, 2011

"I specifically talked to congressmen about the need to balance our budget and they all gave lip service to it. They all said, Yeah, we need to balance the budget, the deficit is terrible, da, da, da. And one congressman said, Yeah, we tried that once before, 1997. We failed by one vote so well, we just kind of gave up," — Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan

April 28, 2011Ogden: Still No Budget Deal

"If we're going to collect a fee from somebody and we pass the fee saying it's going to be dedicated at a certain place, we ought to be dedicated to putting the money where we say we're going to put it when we raise the fee," — Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston

April 29, 2011Texas Senate Debates "Non-Tax Revenue"

"We have been going — or my office has been going 12 or 15 hours a day, we start at 8:00, we get home at midnight, we have not had a chance to really spend the time on this as we've looked at budget issues and other important issues in front of us," — Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston

May 3, 2011Failed Budget Vote Threatens Texas Senate Tradition

"The proposed solution is Senate Bill 12, which offers up furloughs, reduction in pay or firings. It is unbelievable to me as someone that serves in this body and knows how serious we take our job that that's our option in the state of Texas," — Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston

May 4, 2011Senate Approves Budget Bill on Party-Line Vote

"The promise that we hold for our public schools is that they be held accountable for providing that quality education. But the truth of the matter is that this budget cuts quality because we're under funding by $4 billion what we know is needed," — Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio

May 24, 2011Budget Notes: Racing to Finish School Finance

"Furthermore TEA is scaling back as a result of our budget cutbacks and by offering them to charge fees for the review of these courses, we can ensure that the virtual school network continues to attract and maintain the best electronic course providers," — Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano

May 28, 2011Liveblog: Texas Legislature Passes $15 Billion In Cuts

"I respectfully disagree though that Texas -- those that say that Texas is the envy of the nation, I don't see and I can't understand how that could be so especially when I listen to the statistics that are being shared with us by Senator Ellis here this afternoon," — Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville

May 16, 2011Senate Votes $4 Billion From Rainy Day Fund for Deficit

"I'm focusing the rainy day fund on a single purpose and that single purpose is to cover the current deficit. I think it's better to do that than to basically comingle the idea that we need to use the rainy day fund to cover current deficits plus additional urgent needs of the state in 2013," — Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan