Candidate for U.S. Senate Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst listens to veterans during a visit to the VFW post in Grand Prairie, Texas, Thursday, July 19, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is downplaying the exclusion of more taxpayer funding for the state's three signature business incentive programs in new Texas budget proposals.
Dewhurst on Tuesday said it was "not a big deal" that the Senate base budget includes no new funding for the Emerging Technology Fund. Budget talks are also starting with no new money for the Texas Enterprise Fund or the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Dewhurst acknowledged criticism of the programs. But he believes lawmakers will have an appetite to provide funding as the session moves forward.
Bankruptcies within the Emerging Technology Fund last year raised questions about whether the state is getting a return on its investment. CPRIT is under criminal investigation over an $11 million grant that bypassed review.