Texans are struggling during this coronavirus pandemic.  

Government is a system of checks and balances that demands a deliberative and transparent process to develop and implement a budget.  

We should have learned from the last time we faced a large budget deficit that we must be very careful and precise so as not to hurt the current and future Texas families. 

We cannot accept budget cuts that would limit access to equitable public school funding, specialized health care programs, higher education aid, oversight of child care facilities, adult care facilities, hospital funding, women’s health programs, and the state’s system for enrolling children and families in services such as food stamps and Medicaid.  

We as a legislature must protect our most vulnerable Texans and not let billions of dollars of our state budget services be eliminated.

It is imperative that the full legislature be included in the process. As elected officials, our constituents elect us to advocate on their behalf – to protect their livelihood and to build a better future for their children.  

Many of us remain concerned that some may try to use federal aid, meant to supplement state funding for things like public education, to supplant the state’s obligations and responsibilities.  

We must choose wisely to protect our investments in child care, public education, higher education, healthcare, and lifeline services for seniors.

I urge the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to include the full legislature in budget discussions immediately, in order to ensure that we do not balance the budget on the backs of our children, hard-working families and especially those who are struggling on a fixed income.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio in response to a proposed $1 billion state budget cut. The guest column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column features state Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio. (Photo credit: Bob Daemmrich)

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