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Expected Surplus Won't Lessen 2013 Budget Fight in Texas

By Paul J. Weber
|  Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013  |  Updated 2:31 PM CDT
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Expect a Budget Fight in Texas

NBCDFW.com

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Forget the talk of budget shortfalls and sacrifice that defined the Texas legislative session of two years ago. When lawmakers return to the Capitol next week, they're expecting a surplus at their disposal.

But key Republican leaders and budget observers say that money won't last long or go far. That's despite a rosier economic picture in Texas than in 2011, when the country was still lurching out of recession and the state unemployment rate was above 8 percent.

Lawmakers slashed spending by $15 billion two years ago, including $5.4 billion gutted from public education. But a revived economy has created a revenue surplus that some estimate could exceed $8 billion.

Democrats are hopeful that money can restore the deepest cuts, while Republicans have vowed to hold the line on spending.

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