Texas governor, citing pandemic, asks state agencies to cut budgets
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a May 18 news conference in Austin. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/Dallas Morning News/AP)

Texas governor, citing pandemic, asks state agencies to cut budgets

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter Wednesday to the heads of state agencies and higher-learning institutions, asking them to cut their budgets by 5 percent while highlighting the still uncertain economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his letter, Abbott said Texas and the world face “significant economic uncertainty” and that it will be months before the fallout is made clear, along with “how combating this virus will impact state finances.”

“To prepare for this economic shock, we must take action today to ensure that the state can continue providing the essential government services that Texans expect,” Abbott wrote in the letter, which was also signed by Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor, and Dennis Bonnen, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, both Republicans.

Abbott’s letter also suggested “cost-saving strategies” described as not impacting the state’s coronavirus-related actions, including not filling jobs deemed inessential to the pandemic response and sidestepping some travel or administrative costs. His letter asks for these plans by June 15.

Certain things are exempt from this, his letter adds, including funding for child protective services, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of State Health Services and parts of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Originally posted on washingtonpost.com by Mark Berman.

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